Reigning Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader expressed interest in fighting Francis Ngannou but isn’t sure if a return to the octagon would be next for Ngannou.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou was last seen in action against former interim champ Ciryl Gane in Jan. 2022 at UFC 270. He managed to come out on top of the judges’ scorecards by unanimous decision to complete the final bout on his deal with the promotion. Following a lengthy dispute, company president Dana White announced Ngannou’s departure from the UFC last month.
Bellator champ Ryan Bader is willing to fight Francis Ngannou but doubts his return to MMA
In a recent interview with The Schmo, Bader shared his thoughts on a potential fight with Francis Ngannou.
“We’d love to have him at Bellator. I’d love to fight him. It’s one of those things where we’ll see where he goes. I don’t know if he’s going to get back in MMA. I think he’s going to box but if he does come to MMA, I’m the guy with the belt and we’ll be fighting.”
Bader believes Ngannou did not sign another contract with the UFC as he wants to switch the octagon for the boxing ring.
“If he turned that down with the UFC and all that, I think he’s going to box. A lot of these guys get away from MMA but they don’t have Tyson Fury calling them out. He does.”
Bader wants to see Ngannou in a proper boxing match
Bader encouraged ‘The Predator’ to focus on securing a matchup with elite boxers such as Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder under proper boxing rules.
“I would like to see a legit boxing fight with regular boxing rules and all that kind of stuff. At the same time, it would be kind of cool but the whole circus kinda deal going on. He should go in there and box Deontay Wilder, box Tyson a legit deal, get paid what he wants to get paid. That’s his money shot right there.”
Francis Ngannou was recently courted by Fury for a crossover bout with special rules. It remains to be seen whether Ngannou will box first or be back in MMA again.