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Major shakeup in UFC heavyweight ranks as Ngannou moves on

Ngannou UFC news

After a long and fraught relationship, reigning heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has left the UFC to explore other options.

The Frenchman has long felt he was under-appreciated by the organisation and the move is no huge surprise to fight fans. Heavyweight MMA fighters have the biggest pay discrepancy when compared to their boxing counterparts, where superstars like Tyson Fury earn vast sums.

Ngannou might be one of the hardest-punching athletes alive, so boxing appears to be part of his future endeavours. He will need to work hard on his cardio, which has proven problematic across the three and five rounds of UFC bouts. Otherwise, Ngannou appears to possess all the skills required to carve a swathe through boxing’s ranks.

The now-vacant UFC heavyweight crown will be filled in March 2023 when former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones stands opposite top-ranked contender Ciryl Gane. This promises to be a blockbuster matchup between the controversial Jones, who is loved and loathed in equal measure, and Gane, who is never seen without a smile on his face and is widely respected for his technical fighting prowess. Most of the top betting sites have opened their markets with coin-flip odds.

Ngannou will be remembered by UFC fans for his devastating punching power. He could end any bout with a single blow and many of his fights were finished within seconds of the opening bell, making him a nightmare matchup. His prize money per punch is probably the highest of any fighter in MMA history.

Ngannou won the heavyweight strap with a second-round finish of long-time champion Stipe Miocic in March 2021 and defended the title against Gane in January 2022. His fights were spaced out due to lengthy contractual disputes led by demands for higher pay.

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