The UFC middleweight contender said he’s a bit conflicted with Ngannou’s departure from the promotion because he thinks his teammate belongs in the UFC as champion. But at the same time, he likes the idea of potential super fights – and one specifically.
Strickland would love to see a crossover fight between Ngannou and heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury. That fight has been talked about plenty by both parties, and it was a hot topic in 2022.
“I think it’s a damn shame to see Francis go,” Strickland told reporters following his win over Nassourdine Imavov at UFC Fight Night 217 on Saturday. “He’s iconic in the UFC. He’s probably one of the greatest heavyweights we’ve ever had.
“It sucks he parted ways, but I hope that him and Tyson Fury fight for a lot of f*cking money. That’s a fight we deserve. Again, it sucks he left. I’d love to see him fight in the UFC.
“If the ‘Gypsy King’ sacks up and takes that fight against Francis, I mean, that’s ‘go f*ck yourself’ money. That’s ‘I can go pee in a golden toilet seat. I can do whatever the f*ck I want.’ It sucks he leaves, but if he can get that big money with Tyson, hat’s off to you Francis. Enjoy your ‘go f*ck yourself money.’”
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Saturday, UFC president Dana White said negotiations with Ngannou had come to an end and the now-former heavyweight champion opted out of a new deal to become a free agent.
Ngannou leaves the promotion on a six-fight wining streak. He knocked out Stipe Miocic, the most successful heavyweight in UFC history, to become champion in March 2021, then completed his first title defense when he outpointed Gane in a unanimous decision at UFC 270 in January 2022.
The 36-year-old has defeated many other notable names under the UFC banner, including Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos and Curtis Blaydes.