Former UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou has welcomed the opportunity to face former WBC heavyweight kingpin, Deontay Wilder across any form of combat sports, however, in rather chilling fashion, has claimed a strict-ruled boxing match would allow the former to “keep his limbs”. 

Ngannou, a former undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, saw his contractual obligations with the organization come to an end officially on December 9. last – with promotional president, Dana White confirming his stripping as champion and departure from the UFC in January.

As a result, the promotion is now set to field a vacant heavyweight title fight between Ngannou’s past opponent and former interim titleholder, Ciryl Gane – who draws the returning ex-light heavyweight best, Jon Jones at UFC 285 on March 5. 

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In the days and weeks following Ngannou’s official exit, the Cameroon native has been linked with a trio of heavyweight boxing matches against Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, and the above-mentioned, WIlder – with the Tucasloosa native even offering Ngannou a two-fight deal encompassing a boxing and mixed martial arts contest.

Francis Ngannou welcomes now-“open agent” Deontay Wilder to the “free world”

In the latest revelation, Wilder revealed today that he is now an “open agent” – with Ngannou welcoming the former heavyweight champion to the “free world”.

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“Welcome to the free world @BronzeBomber (Deontay WIlder),” Francis Ngannou tweeted. “I hope you are a man of your word. See you soon. #NgannouWilder” 

Furthermore, WIlder addressed the possibility of fighting Ngannou in both boxing and mixed martial arts again, with the ex-UFC kingpin, however, now insisting on a clash in the squared circle to allow Wilder to exit with his limbs unscathed.

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“I said only boxing so he (Deontay Wilder) can keep his limbs,” Francis Ngannou tweeted. “Like I said, we will see if he’s a man of his word.” 

Most recently handing the aforenoted, Gane a unanimous decision loss at UFC 270 back in January of last year, Ngannou successfully unified the division titles with his five round judging win.

As for esteemed knockout artist, Wilder, the veteran snapped his two-fight losing run against Fury with a staggering first round KO of Robert Helenius back in October in Brooklyn, New York. 

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.