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Francis Ngannou: Who will the heavyweight fight next after signing with PFL?

Ngannou vacated the UFC heavyweight title upon leaving the company in January, and he has now joined the PFL, which is allowing him to box on the side

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Wednesday 17 May 2023 11:05 BST
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Francis Ngannou announced on Tuesday that he had signed with the Professional Fighters League, following his exit from the UFC in January.

Ngannou vacated the UFC heavyweight title upon leaving the promotion, which the Cameroonian claimed would not grant him his request to box on the side.

The PFL will allow the 36-year-old to do so, however, with Ngannou expected to box this year before making his PFL debut in 2024.

Ngannou has been linked with a potential boxing match against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in recent years, with the pair sharing the ring at Wembley Stadium last April, after the Briton had knocked out compatriot Dillian Whyte.

Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has also talked up the possibility of his fighter boxing Ngannou, who has named Deontay Wilder as a dream opponent in recent times. Ngannou, in fact, mentioned Fury, Joshua and Wilder’s names again on Tuesday (16 May), while explaining his PFL deal to MMA Fighting.

Ngannou’s PFL debut will take place in the ‘Super Fight’ division – on pay-per-view and outside of the PFL’s usual event structure. The PFL typically operates with a ‘season’ system, with play-offs leading to a championship final in every division at the end of each year. Championship winners also receive $1million in prize money.

Ngannou will not compete in the PFL play-offs, but the winner of the 2023 heavyweight final could be the Cameroonian’s first opponent in the promotion. In 2022, the heavyweight title was won by Ante Delija of Croatia.

Ngannou explained to MMA Fighting that his opponents will receive a base pay of $2m, while his is “a little bit more than that...”

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