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Conor McGregor insists Francis Ngannou ‘made an error’ in leaving the UFC to pursue a big-money payday in boxing… with former heavyweight champion now in talks to face KO king Deontay Wilder

  • Conor McGregor has questioned Francis Ngannou’s decision to leave the UFC
  • Ngannou elected not to resign with the promotion after his contract expired
  • Former heavyweight champion wants to test free agency in MMA and boxing

Conor McGregor has questioned Francis Ngannou’s decision to leave the UFC to test free agency in search of pastures new.

Despite being the organisation’s reigning heavyweight champion, Ngannou elected not to resign with the UFC in January after failing to agree terms on a new contract that Dana White claimed would’ve made the 36-year-old the highest paid heavyweight in UFC history.

In Ngannou’s absence the promotion swiftly moved on with the heavyweight division by vacating his title, with a returning Jon Jones subsequently defeating Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 285 to become a two-weight world champion.

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In the meantime Ngannou has been linked with several potential matchups across the combat sports world, including potential crossover bouts against boxing stars Deontay Wilder and Dillian Whyte. 

Asked his view on fighters electing not to stay with the UFC to test the waters of free agency, McGregor insisted that he believes the promotion represents the ‘pinnacle’ of combat sports.

Conor McGregor claimed Francis Ngannou has made an 'error' in electing to leave the UFC

Conor McGregor claimed Francis Ngannou has made an ‘error’ in electing to leave the UFC

A bout against Deontay Wilder looks likely should Ngannou move into boxing

Former kickboxer Dillian Whyte has also been touted as a potential opponent for Ngannou

Ngannou has been linked with a move to boxing, with Deontay Wilder(left) and Dillian Whyte(right) named as potential opponents

‘What, to go out and get a little side quest and see if they can get some boxing dollars and all the rest of it?, McGregor told Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour

‘For me, the UFC is pinnacle. It’s the company I love, it’s the company I wish to be with for the rest of my career.

‘If you think of Ngannou… Think of all he got. He was in that P.I. [UFC’s Performance Institute gym that is free to all active fighters in the promotion] using all the equipment. 

‘There was no dough on that. There would’ve been no charge on that. He’s getting accommodations, he’s getting everything sorted. I thought he made an error, to be honest.

‘I wasn’t sure why he done that, to be honest. It kind of took the shine off from how it went. But, look, I wish him well.’

McGregor famously ventured into the squared circle to take on Floyd Mayweather in 2017 in an event billed as ‘The Money Fight’, putting in a commendable performance against the pound-for-pound great before being stopped in the tenth round.

Unlike Ngannou however, McGregor remained a contracted UFC fighter for his venture outside of mixed martial arts which was co-promoted by the organisation.

During the interview, the Notorious also revealed his return to the Octagon was initially scheduled to see him complete his trilogy with Nate Diaz, before the Stockton native left the promotion with lightweight contender Michael Chandler stepping in to coach alongside him on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.

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