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Conor McGregor happy for Francis Ngannou, but bemoans lack of competition in PFL

Francis Ngannou in the PFL Louis Grasse, PFL

Conor McGregor still believes Francis Ngannou should have worked things out with the UFC.

McGregor is happy for Ngannou and the former UFC heavyweight champion’s eye-popping deal with the PFL, he said in an interview with Ariel Helwani. The problem, though, is that there isn’t enough marquee competition in the PFL.

“I’m happy for Francis, first of all,” McGregor said. “Fair play to him. He’s done his thing. I still think he should have came to a resolution with the UFC. Who’s he going to fight? Who’s he going to fight that’s going to capture the general public? There’s no one. There’s no matchup that I can even think of, that I can even say to myself that is going to do big.”

After Ngannou allowed his UFC contract to expire, McGregor indicated the ex-champ had been taken care of well by the industry leader and should have given greater consideration to a new contract.

Ngannou’s new PFL guarantees not only a series of incredible concessions and sweeteners from the PFL, but a guaranteed $2 million purse for his opponents. McGregor couldn’t find any fault with that.

“That is commendable, for sure,” he said. “Like I said, I’m happy for him. I just don’t see a buzz on the announcement. I can’t see a name that’s going to make me go [stands up]. That’s it.”

Ngannou’s new PFL deal is just one part of his new post-UFC career. He is expected to pursue a high-profile boxing match and has publicly campaigned for a showdown with heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, who recently called out current heavyweight champ Jon Jones, touching off a spicy exchange on social media.

A staredown between Ngannou and Fury made it seem like the fight could be reality. McGregor doesn’t see it that way, however.

“I don’t see that happening either,” McGregor said. “I just think there’s too many better fights available for the [boxers]. The heavyweight division is buzzing. They’ve got so many fights.”

Asked about Ngannou’s potential as a boxer, McGregor again praised the 36-year-old Cameroon native. Ngannou is back in the gym after a knee injury he suffered in a title unification fight at UFC 270 and has been training for his return.

“He’s a powerful man, and I saw him in California in amazing condition, working on his physical therapy, and I thought, ‘he looks very well,’” McGregor said. “But I just can’t put a name or a thing that will make the general public jump. I wish him well, and I’m happy for him, and he got equity and all the rest of it, but he should have stayed. But they’re stubborn in the UFC, as well. So more power, and all the best.”

McGregor is expected to fight opposing The Ultimate Fighter 31 coach Michael Chandler later this year.

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