Israel Adesanya has pledged his support for Francis Ngannou in his upcoming boxing mega-fight against Tyson Fury, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Adesanya, Kamaru Usman and Ngannou were once hailed as the ‘3 Kings’ of African descent in the UFC. However, only Adesanya currently holds a UFC title, Ngannou left the promotion earlier this year over a contract dispute, and Usman was beaten by Leon Edwards twice.
Despite the criticisms surrounding Ngannou’s departure from the UFC, the heavyweight fighter silenced his doubters by announcing a high-profile boxing match against Tyson Fury. Adesanya wasted no time in expressing his support for Ngannou, reaching out to him with an encouraging text message.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Adesanya shared his excitement, “As soon as I heard the news recently, I was the first person to text him. I was like, ‘I’m gonna be there to witness history.’
“Because a lot of people were counting him out, I said, ‘Let him cook.’ And cook he did… I’m going to Saudi Arabia. I’m witnessing that sh*t live.”
While Adesanya supports Ngannou’s boxing adventure, he remains hopeful that the heavyweight fighter will return to the UFC in the future. Adesanya believes that Ngannou needs to secure his financial interests outside the UFC before potentially making a comeback.
“I think he’ll be back in the UFC, but he just has to make his bag elsewhere first,” the middleweight champion said.
The disagreement between Ngannou and UFC boss Dana White revolved around the possibility of a crossover boxing fight against Tyson Fury. This eventually led to Ngannou’s departure from the promotion. White then offered Fury an MMA fight against the new UFC heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.
Ngannou believed that White’s offer to Fury was intended to undermine his own boxing match. However, Ngannou claims that Fury chose his offer over White’s. During a recent interview with SiriusXM, Ngannou said, “They were ready to do Jon Jones and Tyson Fury in MMA — why couldn’t they do Ngannou and Fury in boxing? I don’t know. I think (he) did that to try to take the fight away from me, and Dana did sent out a contract (for the Jones fight).
“He sent out the contract, which I think was very embarrassing because that contract was rejected, and he signed mine for the GIMIK Fight Promotions. “For some reason, I always prove Dana White wrong, even when he’s on my side.”