UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will be fighting for more than his title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. According to UFC president Dana White, he may be fighting for his future with the promotion.

Ngannou will face Gane for his first title defense at UFC 270 on the first pay-per-view of 2022 on Jan. 22. This after earning the title over Stipe Miocic nearly a year ago at UFC 260 via second-round knockout.

Ngannou and the UFC brass haven’t exactly seen eye to eye over the past year. He was originally scheduled to defend his belt against Jon Jones, then Derrick Lewis, before eventually an interim title bout was made between Lewis and Gane. This allegedly stemmed from stalled contract negotiations with Ngannou asking for a big payday.

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During a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, White explained Ngannou’s current contract situation and where the two sides could go from here.

“When you’re a fighter, you have to be careful who represents you,” White said of Ngannou. “I don’t think he’s had the best representation. Look, if you want to be with us, we’d love to have you. If you don’t want to be with us, no problem. It’s all good. I think his contract, and this is off the top of my head, if he wins he still has time with us after this fight. He’d probably have one more fight.”

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Francis Ngannou, UFC Have Had A Tense 2021

White has gone back-and-forth with Ngannou’s manager, Marquel Martin, on social media and in various outlets. If Ngannou loses to Gane, he would then become a free agent, to the surprise of many.

A Ngannou win at UFC 270 could buy more time for the two sides to come to terms on a new deal. This will surely be a question that will be asked multiple times leading up to the fight, and both sides seem firm on their stances regarding their current agreement.

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Do you think the UFC will eventually come to terms with Francis Ngannou?

Curtis Calhoun is a Combat Sports Contributor based in Seattle, Washington. After a longtime dream of becoming a sports journalist, he was able to accomplish his goals upon graduating from Washington State University in 2016.