UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will require surgery to repair MCL and ACL injuries, his manager has confirmed.

Ngannou retained his heavyweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Ciryl Gane in Anaheim on Saturday.

The 35-year-old got the better of his former training partner Gane for the first victory by decision of his 17-3-0 UFC career.

Ngannou then revealed he had actually torn his MCL and damaged his ACL while sparring in preparation for the fight.

His manager, Marquel Martin, told ESPN on Wednesday that Ngannou will spend some time resting back home in his native Cameroon and that the "plan" is to have surgery once he returns to the United States.

It is estimated Ngannou will be out for nine months recovering from the injuries.

"I continue to be amazed and inspired by Francis' heart and resilience," Martin said.

"Fighting on one leg to overcome all odds and remind the world he is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. I think we can all agree he deserves some time to go back home and be with his family and countrymen.

"Upon his return, we plan on getting surgery and starting the recovery process so we can get him back to 100 percent as soon as possible.

"In the meantime, we hope we can find a peaceful resolution in these contract talks [with the UFC]. We'd like to thank all the fans for their continued support and belief in Francis."

UFC boss Dana White is hopeful Conor McGregor's latest comeback is on the horizon.

The Irish superstar fractured the fibula and tibia of his left leg in a first-round defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC 264 last July.

McGregor, who claimed he started that fight in Las Vegas with multiple leg fractures, has been recovering after undergoing surgery.

White told TMZ he is optimistic the 33-year-old will be back in the Octagon before too long.

He stated: "I think so, yeah. He's doing all the right things with his leg. I'm hoping he can come back this summer."

McGregor has been beaten in three of his past four bouts, with Poirier consigning him to back-to-back losses.

He revealed a plan for his return back in November.

"I will be full mixed martial arts sparring by April. Easily! By then a return will be imminent. But I must be patient. I will beat this!" McGregor tweeted.

Tyson Fury urged UFC champion Francis Ngannou to "make some real money" by meeting him in the ring. 

Ngannou on Saturday defeated Ciryl Gane by unanimous decision to unify the UFC heavyweight division, a feat he achieved despite tearing his MCL in the build-up to the fight. 

The UFC 270 loss was the first of Gane's career, while Ngannou improved to 17-3 by extending his victorious streak to six fights. 

The Cameroonian is widely regarded as the hardest puncher in UFC and, with contract negotiations with the organisation dragging on due to a pay dispute, he has been heavily linked with a switch to boxing. 

WBC heavyweight champion Fury would relish the chance to take on Ngannou, suggesting it could put his financial concerns to bed. 

"Congratulations Francis Ngannou but if you want to make some real money, come see the Gypsy King," Fury posted on Twitter. 

Ngannou trained as a boxer in the early stages of his career in combat sports and expressed he remains keen to return to the discipline following his victory over Gane. 

"As I always say, boxing is always in the back of my pocket. It's something that I must do before the end of my career," he said. 

"And right now, I'm really looking towards any opportunity to get that because it's not like I had a lifetime here so I better start thinking about it." 

Current champion Francis Ngannou retained his UFC heavyweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Ciryl Gane in Anaheim on Saturday.

The Cameroon-born 35-year-old got the better of his former training partner Gane for the first victory by decision of his 17-3-0 UFC career.

Ngannou triumphed 49-46, 48-47 and 48-47, relying on grappling rather than his power to claim the win in his first title defence.

Gane utilised his movement and skill in the first two rounds to subdue Ngannou, who revealed after the bout he had torn his MCL and injured his ACL in training, limiting his agility.

Ngannou adopted a different strategy in the third round, taking down the surprised Gane to assume control. He utilised the same tactics to good effect in the fourth too.

Gane took down Ngannou in the fifth round but the current champion was able to sweep out and re-gain control.

“Three weeks ago I hurt my knee, tore my MCL completely," Ngannou said after the fight. "I wanted to call off the fight but couldn’t see myself retreating from this fight."

The victory may mark the end of Ngannou's time in the sport with his UFC contract due to expire and he admitted the lure of boxing remained.

“Boxing is always in the back of my pocket, it’s something I must do before the end of my career,” Ngannou said.

Figueiredo re-claims flyweight title

In the men's flyweight championship, the UFC's first Mexico-born champion Deiveson Figueiredo defeated Brandon Moreno by unanimous decision.

Figueiredo re-claimed the title he had lost to Moreno six months ago in the co-headline event with all three judges ruling 48-47 in his favour.

Michel Pereira beat Andre Fialho by unanimous decision in the welterweight division, while Said Nurmagomedov triumphed over Cody Stamann by first-round submission in the men's bantamweight.

Jake Paul, the YouTuber-turned-boxer, has published a five-strong list of opponents he wishes to take on in the ring.

Paul knocked out Tyron Woodley on Saturday, with the latter having stepped in at short notice for a rematch following Tommy Fury's withdrawal.

After the win, Paul expressed his desire to get in the ring with either Jorge Masvidal or Nate Diaz, both UFC stars.

However, the 24-year-old has now turned his attention to five other candidates, including Fury's brother, heavyweight champion Tyson.

Also on the list is one of boxing's greats, Floyd Mayweather Jr, who has not fought since 2017, though the 44-year-old has previously been touted as a possible exhibition opponent for Paul's older brother Logan.

Canelo, the first boxer in history to become an undisputed champion at super middleweight, was also named on Paul's hit list, as was the legendary Mike Tyson.

UFC boss Dana White, meanwhile, was another inclusion. 

There is some animosity between the pair, however, with Paul previously criticising White's treatment of UFC's fighters.

"I make more than every UFC fighter f****** combined, including Conor [McGregor]. Y'all work for f****** Dana, y'all work for WME, Endeavor, that's who you work for," he said on his brother Logan's podcast.

"I make more than all of you silly m*****f******. Why would I go into the UFC? Sign a contract and give away rights. I own my content, I own my platform, I own everything. They don't own s***, they are literally employees."

Paul also said he would knock White out, to which the UFC boss, in an interview with MMA Junkie, replied: 'It actually makes sense. I'm 52 years old. I'm in the age bracket of guys he fights, so yeah, I could see him wanting to fight me. All he fights are 50-year-olds."

Charles Oliveira retained his UFC lightweight title as he staved off the challenge of former interim champion Dustin Poirier via submission at UFC 269 in Nevada on Saturday.

Poirier had come into the fight looking to claim Oliveira's title as champion following back-to-back wins over Conor McGregor but was beaten in the third round by rear-naked choke.

The American had started well, unsettling Oliveira and dropping him to the ground with a first-round left hook. Oliveira repelled the barrage and responded with a left hook of his own late in the first.

Oliveira, known as one of the greatest submission artists in UFC history, floored Poirier in the second round, landing hard elbows.

In the third, Oliveira put Poirier into a clinch against the cage, taking his opponent's back and finding the choke that would lead to the submission.

“I’m the world champion. I’m the man. They talk, I do it," Oliveira (32-8, 1 NC) said after the fight after his 10th win in a row. "I'm gonna walk forward. They can hit me a lot." Oliveira has the most finishes (18) and the most submission wins (15) in UFC history.

Pena pulls off massive shock over Nunes

Julianna Pena produced a major upset as she submitted double champion Amanda Nunes in the second round of their bantamweight title fight.

Pena (11-4) stunned Nunes, who had not lost since 2014, despite the Brazilian appearing well in control early, before the American started landing strikes (79-46 according to UFC stats).

The submission came at 3:26 in the second round as Pena grounded Nunes before locked in a rear-naked choke.

"Don't ever doubt me again," Pena said after the fight. "She tapped and I asked the commission, 'Is it over?' He said, 'Yes, you won.' It didn't [seem real]. It feels crazy. But I expected to win. The world is my oyster. You have the ability to do anything you want in this life."

Conor McGregor expects to be back mixed martial arts sparring by April and said an "imminent" return will follow.

The 'Notorious' has not fought since losing to Dustin Poirier by doctor's stoppage at the end of the first round back in July.

McGregor fractured the fibia and tibula of his left leg in that bout and underwent surgery in Los Angeles. The Irishman also claimed he entered the bout with multiple leg fractures.

The 33-year-old was asked about his recovery during a question and answer session on Twitter.

He replied: "I will be full mixed martial arts sparring by April. Easily! By then a return will be imminent. But I must be patient. I will beat this!"

McGregor lost twice to Poirier in 2021 having suffered a second-round TKO defeat in January.

The former lightweight and featherweight UFC champion – the first person in the organisation's history to hold belts in two different weight categories at the same time – has only one UFC win to his name since 2016.

Last week McGregor promised to challenge for the lightweight strap once again, with Poirier fighting for the title against Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 next month.

Kamaru Usman retained his welterweight championship by unanimous decision over Colby Covington in the second instalment of their rivalry at UFC 268.

Usman and Covington went head-to-head in a rematch after the former won via a fifth-round TKO at UFC 245 in December 2019.

It was the same result at Madison Square Garden, where champion Usman outlasted Covington for his 15th consecutive victory – the second longest streak in UFC history behind Anderson Silva (16) – in New York on Saturday.

Usman almost finished Covington in the second round with some huge left strikes, though the latter rallied and hurt the titleholder courtesy of a body kick in the fourth.

Ultimately, Usman (20-1) produced enough to remain the dominant force in the welterweight division.

"There was a lot of trash talk, a lot of bad blood," Usman said in the octagon after the fight.

"I'm sure there's going to still be some after tonight. But this guy is a tough son of a b****. He's tough as s***."

"He's tough -- he's super tough," Usman said. "I wanted to get crazy and get him out of there. But that's not what the best do."

Covington (16-3) added: "Love me or hate me, I'm just getting started. You haven't seen the best of Colby 'Chaos' Covington yet."

In the co-main event, Rose Namajunas (11-4) successfully defended her strawweight crown thanks to a split decision against Zhang Weili (21-3).

Glover Teixeira defied father time as the evergreen veteran sensationally upset Jan Blachowicz in their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 267 to become the oldest first-time champion.

Teixeira showed age is no barrier after the 42-year-old forced defending champion Blachowicz into a rear-naked choke submission in the second round of Saturday's main event in Abu Dhabi.

Blachowicz (28-9) was making his second title defence and riding a five-fight winning streak before being stopped in his tracks by the evergreen Teixeira.

Teixeira (33-7) last had a chance at a UFC light heavyweight title seven years ago and lost to then-champion Jon Jones.

"Never give up on your dreams, no matter what people say, don't listen to them," Brazilian fighter Teixeira said afterwards. "They're gonna put you down.

"Don't listen to those negative people. Believe in yourself.

"I'm breaking the rules, 42 years old. And I'm gonna keep breaking the rules."

UFC president Dana White added: "Glover Teixeira is and has been one of the toughest guys in the division for a very long time, this was his dream forever to get this title shot.

"He finally gets it and did it tonight."

Blachowicz was coming off his first title defence, a unanimous decision victory against previously undefeated middleweight champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 259 in March.

"I think I left legendary Polish Power in the room," Blachowicz said.

Dustin Poirier has agreed to challenge Charles Oliveira for the UFC lightweight title in December.

After lengthy talks, Poirier, who has a 28-6 record, confirmed on Sunday that he will go up against Oliveira, tweeting "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."

ESPN subsequently reported the 32-year-old's representatives had confirmed the bout will take place at UFC 269 on December 11, as Poirier looks to continue an impressive 2021.

He has twice beaten Conor McGregor this year, first in January at UFC 257 and then again at UFC 264 six months later.

Poirier, a former interim champion, previously challenged former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in 2019, though lost via submission.

Oliveira, a year Poirier's junior, will be a similarly stern test. The Brazilian took the title in May after defeating Michael Chandler and is on a nine-fight winning run.

Alex Volkanovski defended his featherweight belt after overcoming Brian Ortega in one of the most dramatic fights of the year at UFC 266.

Volkanovski withstood two submissions in a brutal showdown with Ortega in Las Vegas, where the Australian champion prevailed by unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-44) on Saturday.

Ortega (15-2) – largely outclassed – looked to be on the brink of victory after a mounted guillotine and then a triangle choke in the third round left Volkanovski in trouble at T-Mobile Arena.

But Volkanovski (23-1) silenced his critics, emerging from the jaws of defeat to celebrate his 10th consecutive win in the UFC.

"All you doubters, I'm going to prove you wrong time and time again," Volkanovski said in his post-fight interview.

"Bring it. About f****** time [you put respect on my name].

"Keep doubting me. I love it. I'll be underdog to the day I die."

Of the submission attempts, Volkanovski – who has not lost since May 2013 – said: "Some of them were pretty tight.

"For some reason I went to the ground with him. Obviously, he's good. ... I thought I was in his head and he came back even stronger."

Ortega added: "I thought it was done. That's what we trained for my entire camp. ... That little bastard is f****** tough as hell."

In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko completed her sixth straight title defence at the expense of Lauren Murphy.

Shevchenko (21-4) scored a devastating fourth-round TKO against Murphy in the flyweight title showdown.

Ciryl Gane is the new interim heavyweight UFC champion after dominating Derrick Lewis winning with a third round TKO in Houston on Saturday.

The referee intervened in the third round after Gane hurt Lewis numerous times before finishing the American with a series of hammerfists while he lay on the ground.

The Frenchman, who boasted an undefeated 9-0 record coming into the fight, dominated throughout, with Lewis' corner asking him to be more active to combat Gane.

Gane switched between jabs and leg kicks in a cagey first round, before asserting his dominance with a 34-2 advantage in significant strikes, controlling range and proving evasive for Lewis.

Lewis could not land any big hits before a series of strikes from Gane floored the 36-year-old American.

Gane's victory means he now has former teammate and heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in his sights.

"The fight is gonna go up, so let's go, just let's go," Gane said during the post-game interview in the octagon.

STILL PLENTY OF FIGHT IN ALDO

Jose Aldo defeated Pedro Munhoz by unanimous decision to defend his men's bantamweight crown for the second time.

The 34-year-old Brazilian, who was formerly a champion in the featherweight division, was shrewd and sharp against Munhoz.

Aldo beat Munhoz in total strikes 75-56 across to UFC Stats and appeared a class above.

"I've been working a lot," Aldo said via a translator after the bout. "I want to be a champ in this division. I've been dedicating myself a lot in Brazil. That's why I'm here."

LUQUE WINS AND CALLS OUT USMAN

American-born Brazilian Vicente Luque won his pivotal welterweight fight with a choke submission against Michael Chiesa.

Luque is lining up a bout with champion Kamaru Usman and called him out following the fight.

"I think it's our time," Luque said. "I'm the only guy up there you haven't fought yet. Let's go." Usman, who is due to face Colby Covington in November, responded on Twitter, indicating he was up for it.

Tecia Torres made it two-for-two against Angela Hill as she won by decision in the women's strawweight.

Conor McGregor has claimed he already had "multiple stress fractures" to his shinbone before stepping into the octagon to fight Dustin Poirier on Saturday.

The 33-year-old broke his leg in the first round of the UFC 264 event in Las Vegas after stumbling backwards and trapping his foot beneath himself.

The fight was subsequently stopped by medics and Poirier claimed the victory by TKO – his second win against McGregor in their trilogy of fights.

McGregor has since undergone surgery to repair a break to the lower tibia in his left shin, which could potentially keep the Irishman out of action for the next year.

But in a six-minute video posted on Instagram on Thursday in which he rides around on a motorised scooter, McGregor insisted he had informed UFC chiefs of his injury problems prior to the bout.

"I was injured going into the fight," he said. "People were asking me when was the leg break – at what point did the leg break? Ask Dana White. Ask the UFC. Ask Dr Davidson, the head doctor of the UFC. They knew.

"My leg – I had stress fractures in my leg going into that cage. There was debate about pulling the thing out because I was sparring without shin pads, and I was kicking.

"I kicked the knee a few times, so I had multiple stress fractures in the shin bone above the ankle, and then I had trouble with the ankle anyway throughout the years of fighting all the time."

Former two-weight world champion McGregor also revealed how he now has a titanium rod inserted in his "unbreakable" leg, which he joked makes him feel like fictional cyborg The Terminator.

"I used to just train on my back, and that's how I developed those ground-and-pound shots from the back. That's why Dustin backed away when he was on top of me and I was landing the upkicks and the elbows," he said.

"It's a horrible place to be in when you're against someone like me. You can't land.

"You take so much effort to try and land shots from your top position, and while you're trying to do that and losing your energy, you're getting lumped out by downward elbows and vicious upkicks. 

"It was a skill I developed because I had the damaged leg, and I had to adjust my training.

"What I needed was a titanium shinbone and now I've got a titanium rod from the knee to the ankle. The doctor says it's unbreakable. Once I keep building back, playing with the balance, then build the strength, I have an unbreakable titanium leg. 

"I'm like Arnie [Arnold Schwarzenegger] in Terminator 2! I've got all the tools to do this and I'm going to do it – what a story it's going to be."

Conor McGregor says he is "feeling tremendous" after undergoing successful surgery on the broken leg sustained in his defeat to Dustin Poirier.

The 32-year-old left the octagon on a stretcher at the UFC 264 event after stumbling backwards and trapping his foot underneath himself towards the end of the first round.

McGregor's defeat and potential long-term injury lay-off raised further questions over his future in UFC, but the Irishman has vowed to come back even stronger.

"Just out of the surgery room, everything went to plan, everything went perfect and I'm feeling tremendous," he said in a video update posted on social media. 

"We've got six weeks on a crutch now and then we begin to build back.

"A clean break of the tibia and it was not to be. Dustin, you can celebrate that illegitimate win all you want but you've done nothing in there. 

"That second round would have shown all. Onwards and upwards we go. We dust ourselves off, we build ourselves back, and we come back better than ever."

McGregor beat Poirier – the eighth fighter in UFC history to earn 20 wins – with a first-round TKO in 2014, but the American responded with a second-round TKO in January.

Speaking after Saturday's trilogy fight in Las Vegas, UFC president Dana White confirmed Poirier will fight for the lightweight title, currently held by Charles Oliveira.

However, Poirier has insisted his rivalry with McGregor is not over just yet.

"We are gonna fight again whether it's in the octagon or on the sidewalk," he told reporters.

"You don't say the stuff he said. He was saying that he was going to murder me, you don't say stuff like that.

"There is a chance somebody could die and you don't say that, you don't wish it on anybody."

Dustin Poirier has no doubt he will face Conor McGregor again "in the octagon or on the sidewalk" following his UFC 264 victory in their trilogy fight.

Poirier was awarded the win after McGregor suffered an apparent broken leg towards the end of the first round, leaving the octagon on a stretcher with his leg in a splint.

The Irishman continued to trash talk Poirier even after the defeat. Poirier claimed McGregor repeated threats to murder him that he made in the lead-up to the fight.

Asked in his post-fight media conference if the rivalry was over, Poirier replied: "We are gonna fight again whether it's in the octagon or on the sidewalk.

"You don't say the stuff he said. He was saying that he was going to murder me, you don't say stuff like that.

"There is a chance somebody could die and you don't say that, you don't wish it on anybody."

UFC president Dana White said Poirier would fight for the lightweight title, which is held by Charles Oliveira.

However, Poirier is in no rush to start preparing for such a challenge.

"I feel like I've been preparing for a fight since last year, because I was getting ready for Conor in January, I fought him, as soon as the fight ended I knew that was next so I got home from Abu Dhabi and started training for that fight," he added. 

"I had one trip I got to decompress a little bit but I was getting ready to fight him again.

"The last thing I want to do is go home and sign a contract and start getting ready right away. I just need to get home and think about some things and spend some time with my family."

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