Francis Ngannou’s stunning debut performance vs. Tyson Fury has opened up a plethora of opportunities for him in the ring, but what about MMA?
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou surpassed expectations when he lost a close split decision to WBC heavyweight champ Fury in their crossover boxing match this past Saturday in Saudi Arabia. Ngannou had the better moments in the fight, even knocking down Fury in Round 3.
Ngannou’s name already has been linked to boxing stars Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, which PFL analyst Kenny Florian believes casts doubt on an immediate MMA return. But Florian has faith that Ngannou will hold up his end of the deal, which allowed him the flexibility to box.
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a concern right now because he has the ability to be a star in a completely different sport now,” Florian said on his “Anik & Florian” podcast. “That just opened up a ton of opportunities for him not only in the rematch with Tyson Fury, you have Anthony Joshua and his manager that’s calling him out now. I mean, people want to fight this guy now because he’s such an amazing story. So, ton of opportunities now, everyone is kind of licking their lips who want to fight Francis Ngannou – managers, promoters.
“But I do think we’ll see Francis Ngannou in the cage. I think early 2024 we’ll at least see one mixed martial arts fight. What happens after that? I don’t know honestly, but I do think we will see him. I think Francis is someone who is going to honor this. This wouldn’t have happened without the PFL. I think he’ll come back, will have this one mixed martial arts fight. I think it’s going to help the pay-per-view tremendously for the PFL.”
Even PFL founder Donn Davis doubts Ngannou competes in MMA next. While he expects his promotional debut in 2024, he doesn’t see any interesting fights for him in MMA outside of Jon Jones, who is the current UFC heavyweight champion.
For more on the matchup, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Fury vs. Ngannou.
This story originally appeared on MMA Junkie