For Francis Ngannou, boxing may still represent his immediate future, but MMA remains his bread and butter — and it appears he’s close to finding a new home.
Speaking to The MMA Hour on Wednesday, “The Predator,” who exited the UFC in January and became an unrestricted free agent, revealed he had narrowed his options down to the PFL and ONE Championship.
“I have made my decision,” Ngannou told The MMA Hour. “I haven’t got a done deal yet; I know what my next move is going to be. I know that I want to fight boxing first, 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. But I’ll make my decision. It’s not like I’ve been sitting out here empty-handed. I’ve been very busy.”
Asked to confirm which MMA promotion he had in mind, Ngannou reiterated he was close to a decision, and narrowed it down to two options. “There is PFL and ONE FC, that we are very close.” Whether he was leaning towards one or the other, “we will see.”
Ngannou (17-3), 36, never technically lost the UFC heavyweight championship, instead vacating the title when he failed to come to terms on a new contract with the organization. That leaves him as a lineal champ of sorts, with wins over Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, Stipe Miocic, and Ciryl Gane on his current six-fight win streak.
As for Dana White’s recent comments that the UFC and Ngannou were done for good, closing the door on the ex-heavyweight champ, “I don’t care,” said Ngannou. “He can close his door. That’s his problem.”
As for boxing, Ngannou confirmed that his debut is still being worked on, but he expects it before a return to MMA. “Yes, that’s what I want for the first move. We are still working on it.”
Deontay Wilder, meanwhile, appears to be the front-runner to face Ngannou in the ring.
“Yes, we have had the conversation. At this moment, we are more closer [with Wilder] than with anyone else.”