Francis Ngannou expects to make return with PFL or ONE Championship after UFC exit: ‘We are very close’

ONE Championship withdraws from talks to sign Francis Ngannou careful reflection

Former undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou has confirmed that he will make a return to professional mixed martial arts following his Octagon departure in January – revealing he is close to penning deals with either the PFL (Professional Fighters League), or ONE Championship.

Ngannou, a former undisputed heavyweight champion under the banner of the UFC, departed the Dana White-led organization back in January of this year, after he completed his contractual obligations in the month prior.

The Batié native was subsequently stripped of his heavyweight title, removed from the official rankings and granted his immediate release from the organization – with the UFC also waiving their exclusive matching rights period, allowing Ngannou to field offers from other promotions.

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Francis Ngannou confirms he is close to inking a deal with the PFL, or ONE Championship

Confirming that former WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder is the current frontrunner to welcome him to professional boxing, Ngannou stressed that he would first enter the the squared circle in his post-UFC, before making a return to MMA. And the Cameroonian has confirmed either PFL or ONE Championship will gain his services.

“I have made a decision,” Francis Ngannou told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Without making a done deal, I know what my next move is going to be. I know that I want to fight boxing first and then after that I will fight MMA. I’m going to sign with one MMA promotion. I haven’t made a decision on that yet [but I’m] very close. … PFL and ONE FC fright now, we are very close. We will see.” 

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In his most recent Octagon walk, Francis Ngannou managed to successfully unify the heavyweight titles with a unanimous decision win over former interim champion, Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 270 back in January of last year. 

Ngannou also recently denied claims issued by the above-mentioned, White, that he intentionally avoided a fight with newly minted heavyweight champion, Jon Jones before his January UFC departure, claiming he initiated talks to fight the Endicott native after winning the crown back in 2021