Former UFC champion and current free agent Junior dos Santos has praised Francis Ngannou for his admirable actions in seeking a better deal not only for himself but for future opponents and athletes in general. Ngannou recently signed a lucrative contract with the Professional Fighters League, which reportedly grants him equity and a role on the PFL advisory board, plus a chairman role with PFL Africa, freedom to compete in boxing, and a seven-figure payday for him and his opponents.
For dos Santos, it is rare to see a fighter with such values in a sport like MMA, where athletes tend to focus first on themselves. He commended Ngannou for his ability to break barriers, open new doors and remind MMA promotions that athletes are the show.
Dos Santos thinks that Ngannou’s significant leverage power for being the current man in the heavyweight division played an important role in securing such a game-changing deal for himself. He acknowledged Dana White, the president of the UFC, for taking the sport to its current level of success, but also says that Ngannou’s actions will serve as a wake-up call for promotions to respect the value of athletes.
According to dos Santos, Ngannou is giving them “a slap in the face” and shaking things up by reminding everyone that athletes and organizations are both valuable and need to respect one another. Dos Santos is currently recovering from a shoulder injury and hopes to compete again in 2023, adding that he will be one of the fans watching Ngannou compete in both boxing and MMA.
Dos Santos jokingly offered to be Ngannou’s first opponent in boxing, saying that he is 100% in and lauded Ngannou’s demand that no one who fights him in PFL gets paid less than $2 million. Dos Santos believes that Ngannou’s desires for change go beyond himself and that he is working to change the system to make things better for both promoters and fighters.