Francis Ngannou Will Fight In The PFL This Year
Ngannou’s last MMA bout was against Ciryl Gane at UFC 272 in 2022. After leaving the UFC in 2023, Ngannou signed a deal with the PFL. The deal gave him the option to box in 2023, which he took up against Tyson Fury. He performed commendably, dropping Fury in the third round as he went the distance.
While he suffered a split-decision loss, the performance earned him a top-ten WBC ranking. Ngannou was expected to then fight in the PFL, but he signed a deal to face Anthony Joshua on March 8, with the possibility of a Fury rematch afterwards. That has left doubts over whether Ngannou will fight in MMA again, but Davis downplayed those fears.
Davis On Ngannou
“I’m 100 per cent confident that Francis fights MMA for PFL – not just once, but several times. And I’m confident that Francis will be our long-term business partner. I believe that he will ultimately prove himself to be the greatest athlete in combat sports – the Bo Jackson, if you will, of combat sports.
“I think Francis has an appetite to be a champion in boxing and to remain a champion in MMA. That’s so audacious that only someone of Francis’s character can set that goal, so I think you will see him continue to do both and continue to be successful at both,” Davis said
The main problem for Ngannou is the need for a big name. MMA fans have long demanded a fight with Jon Jones. The UFC Heavyweight Champion is currently injured, and Dana White has dismissed any prospects of a fight. He has refused to work with Ngannou following his UFC departure. The CEO of the UFC also rejected a co-promotion with the PFL. But Davis has hinted Ngannou could face the winner of Ryan Bader vs Renan Ferreria as they will headline the PFL vs Bellator: Champs card this month.
“I believe the winner of ‘La Problema’ and Bader will interest Francis Ngannou. I think whoever comes out of this [victorious] has proven themselves to truly be the No 1 contender in heavyweight MMA – not just in our organization.
“Bader has ruled the roost in Bellator for five years; La Problema is the toughest, most athletic opponent in the world. I don’t know who’s gonna win that, but I think whoever wins that can lay claim to challenge Francis – and I’m interested to see if Francis accepts that,” Davis added
But this may all change if Ngannou beats Joshua. Turki AlalShikh has already stated that the winner will face Fury or Oleksandr Usyk, who will fight on May 18. That gives Ngannou the chance to become the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Since he was already the UFC Heavyweight Champion, he may no longer have the desire to repeat something he has done with another organization. But if he can secure a Jon Jones fight in the PFL, that may all change.
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