May 21, 2022

Ngannou Keeps U.F.C. Heavyweight Crown Amid Contract Dispute

In contrast, the combined guarantees for every fighter on the U.F.C. 270 card on Saturday totaled $1.84 million.

So if Ngannou actually appears in a boxing ring — and he has sparred verbally on Twitter with the heavyweight champion Tyson Fury — he might be chasing a pay raise. Or he might want more flexibility.

“It’s not simply money,” he said. “It’s also the terms of the contract.”

And if he continues with the U.F.C., he will have options. Gane, one of just two fighters to force Ngannou to fight the five-round distance, lobbied for a rematch after losing. Jon Jones, a former light-heavyweight champion, also teased the possibility he would challenge Ngannou.

“If this is the apex of heavyweight fighting, I’m excited,” Jones tweeted. “Got some more records to break.”

Jones, as he made clear on Twitter, watched the bout at home. Visible on the pay-per-view broadcast was Mike Tyson, the Hall of Fame boxer credited with coining the phrase “Baddest Man on the Planet” to describe boxing’s heavyweight champion. The U.F.C. appropriated the nickname for its own heavyweight champion as it trumpeted a showdown between Ngannou’s raw power and Gane’s refined technique.

Before Saturday night, Ngannou had never won by decision in the U.F.C.

Early on, the pair fought at the pace and distance dictated by Gane, a converted kickboxer. Late in the second round, Ngannou, who is 6 feet 4 inches and 257 pounds, inched into striking distance, but he missed his biggest punches while Gane clipped him with a right hook and popped him with a right jab.

In the third, Ngannou shifted tactics. He foiled an attempted kick from Gane, lifted him off the ground, then slammed him to the canvas like a pro wrestler. From there, he spent much of the rest of the fight neutralizing Gane’s kickboxing with viselike body locks and punishing takedowns.

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