Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has become one of the most sought-after free agents in combat sports.
With offers pouring in from multiple promotions, including Bellator, ONE Championship and the PFL, the Cameroonian knockout artist is certainly in the driver’s seat.
In January, after months of negotiations hit a stalemate, UFC president Dana White announced that the promotion was parting ways with Ngannou. Since then, Jon Jones has claimed the UFC heavyweight crown. However, Ngannou is not resting on his laurels and has his sights set on making his first foray into professional boxing this summer.
In a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Ngannou confirmed that he has “serious” offers from both PFL and ONE Championship. While he hasn’t had as many discussions with Bellator, the promotion’s CEO Scott Coker has made a strong play for Ngannou’s services, although it seems like they may be losing out in the race to sign him.
“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 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 boxing.”
The PFL’s tournament format and million-dollar top prize would likely be a good fit for Ngannou, who has been tied to talks with the organization in the past. On the other hand, ONE Championship is set to make its North American debut in May and is looking to boost its profile in the region. CEO Chatri Sityodtong would undoubtedly make a strong play for Ngannou, and the promotion could provide him with some intriguing matchups.
With 17-time BJJ world champion Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almedia and Champ Anatoly Malykhin already on its roster, ONE Championship offers Ngannou the opportunity to showcase his elite striking with highlight reel KOs.
Regardless of what happens, most MMA fans would prefer to see Ngannou get his worth.