The PFL is eyeing the baddest man on the planet and the hottest free agent in combat sports. Francis Ngannou (17-3) recently left the UFC after the two sides couldn’t find common ground on a deal. Ngannou left as the heavyweight champion and now he’s currently exploring his next steps.
While Ngannou was the heavyweight champion of the UFC, it has appeared that his focus is on a boxing match next. He’s wanting to do both as he’s said he said he’s still got fights left in MMA, although his preference seems to be in boxing.
Ngannou has listed Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua as potential opponents. Wilder has said that he’s interested in doing a two-fight series with Ngannou which would feature the two men fighting in boxing and MMA.
A similar proposal was made by Jake Paul who was recently signed by the PFL. Paul said that he wanted a two-fight series with Nate Diaz where they would box first and then compete in MMA. Turns out, Paul’s new partner is already having talks with Francis Ngannou about his future.
Ngannou to the PFL?
PFL’s CEO Peter Murray told Insider this week that the promotion was excited about the talks that they were having with Francis Ngannou. Murray said, “We’re excited about Francis and the conversations that are taking place. His next chapter is going to be bright, as will the PFLs. We believe we’re the perfect fit.”
Ngannou reiterated to Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour that he didn’t leave the UFC because of money. The UFC’s offer would have likely made him the highest paid heavyweight in the history of the promotion. However, Ngannou was fighting for his fellow fighters.
He wanted to see in-ring sponsorships come back as well as health insurance. He was all about taking care of his fellow fighters which aligns with what Jake Paul has been saying for the past couple of years. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I think there could be something here.
Paul and Ngannou have shared a very similar stance on the UFC’s treatment of fighters. Both are wanting to compete in MMA and boxing. PFL signed Paul and instituted a new PPV superfight model which would allow MMA and boxing. There seems to be a lot of smoke collecting.
In the end, Ngannou might decide to do one-offs opposed to signing a long-term deal. However, if he does sign an exclusive deal, the PFL looks to be in a great position.