Friday, June 9, 2023
HomeSportsMMAFrancis Ngannou’s ‘depressed’ coach reveals ‘heartbreak’ behind PFL signing — ‘It let...

Francis Ngannou’s ‘depressed’ coach reveals ‘heartbreak’ behind PFL signing — ‘It let me down in a lot of ways’

Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou vacated his 265-pound title and left the promotion to pursue better opportunities for himself and his family. After several months of jokes and showmanship, “The Predator” scored a historic deal with PFL.

MMA is prize fighting and Ngannou scored the biggest prize on the market, so there’s really nothing about his career change that could be viewed as a loss for the Cameroonian power puncher. As for the people around him, including coach Eric Nicksick, that’s another story.

No UFC means no Jon Jones super fight.

“To be honest with you guys, in the very beginning, it was stressful,” Nicksick told Submission Radio. “And I think it let me down in a lot of ways, just because I always had this vision of us fighting Jon Jones, and that was what was always on the table for us. And I’m speaking from a coach and a competitor. I wanted the opportunity to be able to go and compete against arguably the best to ever do it, in my opinion, the best to ever do it in Jon Jones. And that was merely my only heartbreak in the whole situation, was just the competitiveness in me. I wanted a crack at it, man. I wanted to try to put a game plan together with my best athlete and go and beat this guy who I think is the greatest ever do it.”

Ngannou and Jones were embroiled in a social media feud for several years and the promotion expressed interest in making the matchup happen; however, financial demands from both sides — not unreasonable considering the magnitude of the fight — had UFC President Dana White running for cover.

By the time Jones moved up to heavyweight, Ngannou was already an ex-employee.

“So, there was a time there, to be honest with you guys, I was pretty depressed,” Nicksick continued. “But it had to do with more of like, man, we’ve done four years of just grueling work in the room, and now we’re not gonna be able to show it against the guy who would be the one to cement your legacy, if you will. So, that took me about a week or two, and then over time I started to realize, man, it’s out of my control. It’s out of my grasp. If you start to buy into all the social media stuff and reading into all that stuff, it becomes more of a trap than anything. And it robs you of your joy. So, I think it was really a maturity thing for me too, even to grow during this process and allow Francis to do what he believed. And really, I said last night at dinner, I said, I trusted the next chapter because I knew who the author was, and that was it. I just left it to faith and I believe in the guy and what he’s capable of doing. And here we are today.”

Ngannou is not expected to make his PFL debut until mid-2024. As for Jones, he’s scheduled to defend the UFC heavyweight title against former champion Stipe Miocic at some point later this year, then retire from competition.

This story originally appeared on MMA Mania

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments