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“Has Some Real Major Options” – Francis Ngannou Could Once Again Step Inside the Ring in 2024 Before PFL MMA Debut, Discloses Peter Murray

Published 11/03/2023, 5:35 AM EDT

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MMA fighters foraying into boxing and vice-versa – it seems to be the order of the day. Some MMA fighters move to boxing for a fat paycheck, while others do it for the challenge. When Conor McGregor fought Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring and even his friend, Dillon Danis, took on Logan Paul, both Danis and McGregor walked away with a big paycheck – but also a loss at the hands of the boxers.

Recently, former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou took on the WBC champ, Tyson Fury. The fight had been building up for a while and saw prominent personalities like Cristiano Ronaldo and others come out to see the show. Ngannou was obviously the underdog in the fight since it was a boxing bout. However, by the time the bell sounded, the energy around the ring had changed completely. Ngannou might have lost that bout, but it seems the PFL CEO has huge plans for him that were just revealed.

PFL boss announces major plans for former UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou

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Everyone expected it to be a short night for Francis Ngannou when he stepped into the ring in Riyadh against Tyson Fury. However, Ngannou had been training with Mike Tyson and he quickly turned the fight and the naysayers around. He even dropped the WBC champ early in the fight. However, in the end, even after putting on a dominant performance, the decision win was awarded to Fury. Ngannou was quite displeased with the judges’ decision, but now, it seems the PFL boss has major plans for him.

In a recent interview with ESPN MMA, PFL CEO Peter Murray revealed the ‘big plans’ that he has for Ngannou in 2024. The interviewer asked him if the original plans for Ngannou had changed after his stellar performance in Saudi Arabia. “Yeah, well, hey! Number one, Francis has some real major options, you know, in boxing, and we’re excited about that for him,” replied Murray. 

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Fans have been desperate to know when he would be returning as an MMA fighter. Now, even boxing fans want more of Ngannou. “And, what I do know is he’ll box in 2024 and he’ll return to the cage in 2024 with PFL. So it really is a matter of scheduling and… and then timing. Right?” clarified the PFL CEO. “But I think it – it works. I mean it continues to build Francis’ brand… right? His platform, alongside the PFL’s platform and, we think it’s great,” he added. 

Now, whether Ngannou wants to fight inside a boxing ring or whether he wants to step into the cage, no one really knows. It could be a mutual decision for both Ngannou and the PFL top brass. Regardless, one can safely assume that Ngannou fans would be happy since he would be fighting as both an MMA fighter and a boxer.

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We have plenty of time to schedule the right fight – the right opponent for Francis, the right time and how he’s thinking about boxing, so… and he’s in top condition right now, so. You saw. So, like… it’s on!“, added Murray in the end. If the latest talks of the town are true, Ngannou’s next fight could be against another big name in boxing, except it will not be in the squared circle.

Ngannou to face former boxing heavyweight champ in MMA?

In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, Francis Ngannou revealed there were serious talks about him facing Deontay Wilder. But here’s the catch- the fight would be an MMA bout and not a boxing match. “That has been in the discussion. That’s something that can potentially happen. Deontay Wilder for a couple of months, or a little while, has been training MMA because there’s an option here,” Ngannou told on ‘The MMA Hour’ earlier this week.

“Nothing is set, but some things have been coming to my attention, so that’s something that makes sense. “He’s really serious about MMA. A lot of people talk – ‘I’m going to do this in boxing and do that in MMA’ – but Deontay Wilder is very interested in MMA, and even just to step in the (cage) for MMA and MMA only. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be a different beast for him,” he added.

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When Ngannou put on a show for the fans in Riyadh, not only did he make Mike Tyson proud, but even the PFL CEO seemed quite happy with the decision to sign the former UFC heavyweight champion. Now, it seems that the company already has a lot of plans surrounding him. Logan Paul’s brother, Jake Paul, who is also a professional boxer, has also been signed by the promotion. Naturally, there is a lot of excitement and buzz around PFL this time.

via Getty

To make things interesting, Ngannou has also offered to fight Stipe Miocic – the legendary UFC heavyweight fighter, in place of the current HW champ Jon Jones, who had to back out owing to an injury. Now, this can either be an opportunity for the PFL CEO or he might even choose to ignore it altogether. But Ngannou has made his intentions clear.

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What does UFC CEO Dana White have to say about this? Who will Ngannou fight next? Or is there a potential cross-promotion fight in the making? Stay tuned to find out!

Watch This Story – Was Dana White a UFC fighter? Has the UFC CEO ever stepped inside the famed octagon?

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Written by:

Arghyadeep Ghosh

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Arghyadeep is a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. His love for combat sports is not confined to just MMA. He is a huge fan of showmanship in competitive fighting, something he grew to admire from his early days of watching WWF.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen