Francis Ngannou is very close to getting an MMA deal done.
Back in January, former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou decide to relinquish his title and leave the UFC. After months of negotiations with the UFC, he felt it was best to leave and seek new opportunities elsewhere. Since then, it seems not much progress had been made from the outside. Ngannou wants the freedom to compete in both boxing and MMA and is actively seeking promotions to work with. Now it seems he is close to signing a deal for the MMA side according to Ariel Helwani.
On Monday morning, news broke that ONE Championship was moving on from their pursuit of Ngannou. They were very interested in signing the heavyweight but revealed that they were not going to make a final offer. Now Ngannou has shared his side of the story with Helwani, which he explained on The MMA Hour. According to Helwani, Ngannou is close to signing with another MMA organization, which he hints could be PFL.
“Francis is very close to signing a new deal with another promotion,” Helwani said. “According to Francis, he was very upfront about this so they left the meeting on good terms. Both of them came to an understanding that because he had kind of verbally committed to someone, more than likely, he’s not going to ONE…I thought it was really interesting when he was in studio and talking about who the big players are, it was really interesting when I asked him about PFL, that one seemed to be the one that really got him fired up.”
Ariel Helwani reached out to Francis Ngannou this morning to get his side of the story.#TheMMAHour pic.twitter.com/dInsw79awY
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) May 1, 2023
Francis Ngannou could sign an MMA deal in a matter of days
The news of ONE Championship walking away from Ngannou sounded like exactly that, they were no longer interested. Now Helawani is making it seem as though Ngannou has a pending deal in place and therefore could not sign with ONE Championship.
“I think Chatri wanted to do a deal with Francis is my understanding, came to the realization that he can’t do a deal with him because he had this verbal commitment,” he said. “He’s very close, and could even be signed this week. He tells me and this is the MMA side of his deal there’s an MMA component and a boxing component.”‘
Ngannou wants a boxing match for his next fight. He has been targeting some top heavyweights including Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. After that, he is looking to return to MMA. PFL would be a good fit for him because they recently brought on a PPV format for big named fighters to compete outside the typical PFL season. On the flip side, if he competes in and wins the season the prize would be one million dollars.