White left with egg on his face after Ngannou display against Fury

Tyson Fury controversially defeated Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia

Former MMA fighter Dan Hardy claims that UFC boss Dana White will be looking back with regret following Francis Ngannou’s move to the Professional Fighters League (PFL). Hardy admitted that while White is “a fantastic promoter” he has been “proved wrong” following Ngannou’s recent boxing bout against Tyson Fury.

Ngannou left the UFC in January 2023 while holding the heavyweight championship title, after failing to agree terms on a new contract. The 37-year-old was forced to give up his belt and sought a move to the PFL instead.

Following his departure, Dana White aimed a not-so-subtle dig at Ngannou while speaking after UFC Fight Night 217. “We get to this point, and I’ve told you guys this before, if you don’t want to be here, you don’t have to be here,” he said. “I think Francis is in a place right now where he doesn’t want to take a lot of risks. He feels he’s in a good position where he can fight lesser opponents and make more money.”

Taking umbrage with his comments, Ngannou subsequently agreed a deal to fight WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in a bout in Saudi Arabia. The MMA star controversially lost the fight via split decision, however, former UFC fighter Dan Hardy believes that the bout proved just what White has been missing at the UFC.

“He absolutely did prove Dana wrong,” Hardy said speaking via Mail Sport’s ‘The Hook’. “The thing is, Dana has got very good spin-doctors around him. He’s very good at twisting the narrative to suit him and the UFC, which is why he is a fantastic promoter. We see it in politics all the time – Dana’s just doing it in a sporting context.

“If Ngannou had have stayed with the UFC and Jon Jones had moved into free agency and signed with the PFL, then it would have been Jon Jones who was afraid of Ngannou and doesn’t take risks and wants to make more money fighting lesser opponents etc. The spin goes in whichever way suits the UFC.”

Hardy went on to draw on his own experiences since leaving the UFC, and maintained that fighters are “devalued” when they leave the organisation. “I know this from a first-hand perspective,” he added.

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“When you leave the UFC, they have to devalue you as quickly as possible. They have to take your stock down as much as they can by creating a narrative that’s clearly not true. No one in the world should be able to say with a serious look on their face that Francis is scared. Come on, like he’s more than anybody could have considered.

“That clip has come back to haunt Dana, hasn’t it? I’ve seen it’s been posted around the internet over and over again and that’s Dana’s job, right? His job is to promote the UFC and make it seem like it’s the best product on the planet.”

Following Ngannou and Fury’s fight, the Cameroonian has since teased a rematch, but is instead expected to make his PFL debut later in 2024.

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