Francis Ngannou flirts with PFL, ONE Championship moves, reveals ‘Serious’ talks have taken place

Francis Ngannou UFC return
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Francis Ngannou revealed that he has “serious” offers from multiple combat sports promotions including the Professional Fighters League and ONE Championship.

In January, UFC president Dana White revealed that the promotion was parting ways with its then-heavyweight champion after nearly two years of negotiations hit a stalemate. Since then, the UFC has crowned a new heavyweight king in the returning Jon Jones. After more than three years away from the Octagon, ‘Bones’ returned to deliver a showstopping two-minute submission of Ciryl Gane to capture the vacant heavyweight championship.

As for Francis Ngannou, ‘The Predator’ is hoping to secure his first foray into professional boxing this summer, but during an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Ngannou revealed that he is in serious talks with multiple combat sports organizations, including one set to make their North American debut this May.

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“I have been having some serious conversations with PFL. Also with ONE [Championship],” Ngannou revealed. Not so much with Bellator, but there’s not a rush since my first fight has to be in boxing so that’s where my focus is at right now. If I have some good conditions, if I have a reason, I think there is a right contract with the right terms, maybe. I have no problem making an agreement before I step into a boxing fight.”

Who Will Win the Francis Ngannou Lottery?

Those words from Francis Ngannou are likely a sting to the eardrums of Bellator CEO Scott Coker who, by all accounts, has made a strong play for Ngannou’s services following his departure from the UFC. Appearing on The MMA Hour, Coker said that it was “50/50” as to whether or not they would be able to sign ‘The Predator’ to a mutually-beneficial contract. Based on Ngannou’s own words, it sounds like Bellator may be forced to walk away from the negotiating table.

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Francis Ngannou has been previously tied to talks with the PFL. Given its tournament format and the million-dollar top prize, it would likely be a perfect fit for the Cameroonian.

With ONE Championship scheduled to make its long-awaited U.S. debut on May 5 at the 1stBank Center in Colorado, the promotion’s founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong is likely to make a strong play for ‘The Predator’ in order to boost its North American profile and take a chunk of the pie that the UFC has been hoarding for three decades. ONE Championship would also provide Francis Ngannou with some genuinely intriguing matchups.

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The promotion is currently home to 17-time BJJ world champion Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almedia who is 4-0 in his still-developing MMA career. There is also a potential meeting with ONE Championship’s Fighter of the Year, Anatoly Malykhin. The Russian juggernaut stunned fans with a first-round knockout of former ONE light heavyweight world champion Reinier de Ridder in December and currently sits as a two-division titleholder.