Francis Ngannou has dominated all the headlines this week and with good reason — he's officially boxing WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury on Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It's going to be a massive payday for the former UFC heavyweight champion and new PFL signing with his representative recently revealing the bag will be a “life-changing” amount.

It's also vindication for “The Predator” who bet on himself by departing the UFC to not only sign a lucrative deal with the PFL, but now, earn the biggest payday of his life against Fury — all that despite many on social media claiming he fumbled the bag. He's not the first and he likely won't be the last to benefit financially from departing the Las Vegas-based promotion. And so, here's a look at five fighters, including Francis Ngannou, who all benefited from leaving the UFC.

Francis Ngannou

Ngannou vacated the heavyweight title and left the UFC earlier this year to the shock of many in the combat sports world. At the time, UFC president Dana White claimed the knockout artist turned down the most lucrative contract he had offered because he wanted to fight lower-level competition.

It was no secret that Ngannou wanted to box as well as compete in MMA. But after a few months of reports of negotiations with boxers that seemingly weren't going anywhere and promotions like Bare Knuckle FC and ONE Championship turning him down, it appeared as if Ngannou really did fumble the bag. That was, until he made the blockbuster move to the PFLin May where he not only signed a lucrative contract — including a guaranteed “high 7-figure” purse for each fight — but received a ton of benefits such as being able to box on the side. And sure enough, he's now boxing the best heavyweight boxer on the planet.

The French-Cameroonian is expected to make his PFL debut in the first quarter of 2024 — and by the time he does, he will have already made enough bank to secure the future of his family for many generations to come.

Rory MacDonald

Rory MacDonald was viewed by many to become a future UFC welterweight champion. However, in 2016, he decided to let his contract run and test free agency. He was ultimately snapped up by Bellator in what, at the time, was seen as arguably the biggest MMA free agent pick-up. MacDonald would ultimately become Bellator champion and while his performances weren't at the same level of his UFC performances, he still made a lot more money given that he was free to have sponsors at his fights unlike in the UFC where it's prohibited and fighters received a standard payout from Reebok (now Venum) at the time.

As an example, prior to Bellator 192, MacDonald made $250,000 just for representing the Dash cryptocurrency at the event, which was notably more than Reebok’s total payout ($165,000) for all the fighters competing at UFC Austin. In terms of a fight contract, MacDonald made just $59,000 at UFC 189. At Bellator 192, he made $100,000. Add in all the sponsors, and it's fair to say the “Red King” made plenty of money after departing the UFC.

Shane Burgos

A common theme will be UFC fighters testing free agency and eventually signing with the PFL. Former UFC featherweight Shane Burgos is no exception as his latest win at PFL 6 saw him earn a flat $100,000 which doesn't include any bonuses or sponsorship money. He was also reinstated to the PFL playoffs which means he is just two wins away from winning the million dollar prize. He might be fighting lower-level competition, but his bank account certainly won't be complaining.

Anthony Pettis

Former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis also tested free agency before signing with the PFL in 2020 — and he's certainly making bank. While he's gone 1-4 in the PFL, he's made a base purse of a whopping $750,000 for each appearance with the promotion. That's more than double the amount he made at UFC 249 back in May 2020 where he earned $310,000 — a relatively large purse for any UFC fighter.

But that's not all — “Showtime” has also boxed on the side and his unanimous decision win over boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. also earned him $650,000 earlier this year. All in all, it's been a great decision.

Paige VanZant

Former UFC women's strawweight Paige VanZant departed the UFC in 2020 before ultimately signing with Bare Knuckle FC…and she's ecstatic to say the least. While she's lost her two outings with BKFC, she's seemingly made as much as $400,000 for each fight.

“I was in the UFC for six years getting paid $40,000 (to show) and $40,000 (to win),” she said. “Now (with BKFC) I’m getting 10 times that doing what I love. So, obviously, I’m not going anywhere. I’m very happy fighting here and I’m excited to fight.”

Having launched her own fan site as well, VanZant claims she has now outearned her BKFC contract in one month. It's fair to say she can peacefully retire whenever that day comes.