Francis Ngannou has laid out plans for his highly anticipated return to combat sports.
‘The Predator’ has officially signed with the Professional Fighters League after months of speculation and negotiations with practically every major promotion on the planet. Ngannou joined Ariel Helwani on a special Tuesday episode of The MMA Hour to reveal details of the signing and his game plan for the remainder of 2023 and 2024.
During their conversation, Ngannou revealed details regarding his contract with the PFL and confirmed that his first appearance inside the Smart Cage would not come until 2024. When asked why not this year, Ngannou confirmed that he still aims to step inside the squared circle for his professional boxing debut in 2023 before turning his attention back to MMA in the new year.
“This deal is exclusively MMA and also, the PFL will need time to find an opponent for me,” Ngannou said. “I’m not going in next month to fight and also, there is the boxing component that is still in consideration. We don’t have an announcement yet, but as I said, there’s a lot of timing in this. We could have a big fight or just a tune-up fight sometime soon and that’s what I’m hoping to have. A boxing fight before I fight in the PFL. So that’s also one of the reasons why 2024 is the best fit.”
Francis Ngannou did an interview with The DAZN MMA Show.
Some points👇 pic.twitter.com/agVWjX1Ms8
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) May 16, 2023
Ngannou also suggested that a big-money fight in boxing is still on the docket, but he could opt to take a tune-up fight before testing himself against a heavyweight top dog.
“Tyson Fury is still out there, Deontay Wilder is still out there, I don’t know about Anthony Joshua, all those guys are still out there and there’s a possibility as well to take a tune-up fight to get in there and have a feeling about it once before the big fight, whenever it comes,” Ngannou continued.
Francis Ngannou is targeting a "big" boxing fight or "tune up" before fighting for PFL in 2024 🥊 #TheMMAHour
"Tyson Fury is still out there, Deontay Wilder is still out there, I don’t know about Anthony Joshua, all those guys are still out there.”
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— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) May 16, 2023
Francis Ngannou Details His Role on the PFL Fighter Advisory Board
In addition to competing for the PFL, Francis Ngannou will serve as the chairman for PFL Africa once officially launched. ‘The Predator’ will also have a prominent role on the Fighter Advisory Board. Sharing details on what his role will be as a member of the board, Ngannou said:
“The Fighter Advisory Board is a board that is there to advocate for fighters who do not have a voice. Who are not at the table, but they are the ones making this sport. The promotion doesn’t make the sport. Fighters make the sport and the board seems to forget that.”
Asked if other fighters could potentially join the board in the future, Ngannou certainly believes that could be the case. Ngannou also revealed that it’s not a position he necessarily wants but given his status as a high-profile name in the sport, he felt it was his responsibility to be the voice of the voiceless.
“Of course. I wish so. I think it’s possible and I’m going to do my best. I’m going to be speaking out and even trying to engage some to be part of it because it’s not about me and the reason why I am on this one is just because I was the one right there and they kind of put it in the deal. It’s not really a position that I want. It’s not something that I wanted to take it. I just wanted somebody there that I’m sure there’s somebody there fighting for fighters.”
Are you excited to see Francis Ngannou make his PFL debut next year?
Francis Ngannou talks Fighter Advisory Board.#TheMMAHour pic.twitter.com/Ctwd0eSIqJ
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) May 16, 2023