Francis Ngannou first won the UFC Heavyweight Championship via an impressive knockout of Stipe Miocic in March 2021, leaving no doubt about his status as the sport’s top fighter in the division in last Saturday’s victory over Ciryl Gane at UFC 270, which united the promotion championship.
Ngannou was already not obliged to hurry back into the cage for several reasons, and it looks like he will be physically out of action for the foreseeable future.
Marquel Martin, Ngannou’s manager, told Brett Okamoto of ESPN on Wednesday that the 35-year-old has to undergo knee surgery to repair a torn MCL and damaged ACL he was originally trained for the match against Gane.
In his comments, Martin Ngannou praised for “fighting on one leg” last weekend, saying the champion’s recovery time is nine months from after he has had the procedure. Ngannou will first travel to his home country of Cameroon before undergoing surgery in the United States.
Like other great UFC fighters over the past many years, Ngannou left no doubt before UFC 270 that he was not thrilled about his salary or the fact that the promotion would not let him pursue other options, such as boxing fights with big money, under contract. . As Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting noted, Ngannou beat UFC President Dana White last fall for the way White handled the heavyweight division’s interim title after Ngannou and the UFC could not agree on a match agreement.
One wonders if the UFC will again look to crown a temporary champion with Ngannou on the sidelines for most of 2022.