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Dana White on Francis Ngannou contract negotiations: 'You don't want to be with us, no problem'

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May 9, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Francis Ngannou (red gloves) defeats Jairzinho Rozenstruik (blue gloves) by knockout during UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou only has one fight left on his current contract, however, UFC President Dana White does not seem too worried if the promotion's resident "baddest man on the planet" isn't on the roster after UFC 270.

Ngannou (16-3) is set to open the UFC's pay-per-view schedule next month at UFC 270. "The Predator" will headline that card in one of the heavyweight division's most anticipated matchups ever when he faces interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0) in a title unification bout. Yet, a new layer of intrigue has been added to this bout beyond the legacy implications. With only one fight left on his deal, this could be Ngannou's last fight in the promotion.

It is highly unusual for the UFC to have a champion entering a title fight without being locked into a long-term accord. But that has been the nature of the failed contract negotiations between the promotion and the Cameroonian goliath. This year has led to a major schism between the two sides that started when they could not come to terms on the champion's first title defense.

Dana White gives update on Francis Ngannou contract negotiations

Instead of an originally planned return in September to face the division's top contender, the promotion chose to make an interim title fight between Gane and heavyweight star Derrick Lewis in August. The decision led to public barking between White and Ngannou's manager Marquel Martin, and Ngannou saying in interviews he felt disrespected by his employer.

It comes as no surprise then that negotiations have stalled a month away from Ngannou's next appearance in the Octagon. And despite being one of the promotion's most marketable talents, White does not seem too bothered if the two can't come to an agreement, and Ngannou takes his talents elsewhere.

"These things happen sometimes. You don't always come to terms with people. I'm trying to be nice today," White said to ">ESPN MMA with a grin. "We just had this conversation a minute ago, [but] you've gotta be careful who you get to represent you because that's what they do. [It's] sad. I don't think he's got the best representation. I don't know if you guys remember but I think we were in Abu Dhabi, or wherever we were; [We asked] you wanna be with us? We'd love to have you. You don't want to be with us, no problem. It's all good."

If Ngannou wins at UFC 270, he will likely have one more fight to fulfill on his deal

MMA contracts often have clauses in which champions are locked into an extra fight after the original terms of their deals have been fulfilled. If Ngannou is defeated by Gane, he will be a free agent able to test the market and take the best offer from the highest bidder. However, White clarified what would happen if he actually wins in Jan.

"If he wins, what happens? So I think his contract -- and this off the top of my head -- he still has time with us after this fight. So he'd probably have one more fight," he said.

Ngannou has not fought since winning the division title by beating former champion Stipe Miocic by knockout in March.

Would you be surprised if Ngannou doesn't re-sign? And if he does test the open market, is he the biggest combat sports free agent of all time?