Ngannou is refusing to sign a new deal ahead of his UFC 270 clash with Gane unless the promotion allow him to crossover to boxing whilst under contract
Ciryl Gane thinks his UFC 270 opponent Francis Ngannou is “smart” to pursue a move away from the UFC to boxing.
Interim titleholder Gane will face undisputed champion Ngannou in the UFC’s first pay-per-view event of the year on January 22 in Houston, Texas.
Ngannou is in a contract crisis with the promotion as his fight with Gane was thought to mark the last on his current UFC deal.
But it is believed ‘The Predator’ will owe the UFC another fight if he wins against Gane due to the ‘champions clause’ extending his deal.
Ngannou wants to stay with the UFC after his deal expires, but is requesting a clause that will allow him to compete in boxing whilst under contract.
And Gane thinks Ngannou is smart for requesting the clause due to the money that can be made in boxing.
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“This is a smart move, this is a new move. Everybody knows you have more money in this game [boxing] for a long time, so yeah this is a smart move,” he told reporters including Mirror Fighting.
Despite Ngannou’s eagerness to get involved in boxing, Gane doesn’t think the champion is looking past him at UFC 270.
“No, I think Francis is a smart guy, he talks about that and he talks about the future but he’s really focused on the present.
“He knows he has a challenge with me, so I think he takes me serious.”
Ngannou will refuse to fight for the UFC if he wins later this month if the promotion refuses to offer him a new deal.
The Cameroonian – who is unbeaten in over three years – said he only accepted to fight former training partner Gane for “a personal reason”.
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Ngannou and Gane used to train with each other at the MMA Factory in Paris, but Ngannou left the gym in 2018 after falling out with coach Fernand Lopez.
Ngannou’s desire to box is not a new venture, leaving Cameroon for France a decade ago to train the sport, with MMA coming later down the line.
And Gane can relate to Ngannou’s desire to seek a bigger payday but insists he is happy with his current UFC deal.
“I can understand, he defends his money, that’s really normal. He wants more, everyone wants more, but with me, I’m really satisfied and really ok with more contract,” he continued.
“This is the worst job, this is not my job it’s the job of my manager. I don’t know exactly but today, I’m really happy about my contract.”