PFL exec confident Ngannou still returns to MMA in 2024

PFL CEO Peter Murray recently disclosed Francis Ngannou’s imminent return to MMA within the next twelve months.

The year 2023 marked a huge shift for Ngannou. In the first half of last year, he left UFC and secured a lucrative contract with PFL. His boxing match against Tyson Fury further altered the combat sports world as he nearly won by knocking out Fury. Also, the bout helped Ngannou receive a substantial payday.

Now set for March 8, Ngannou will square off against Anthony Joshua in a ten-round boxing match that is expected to bring in millions of dollars for the former UFC heavyweight champion. The main issue is that it doesn’t seem like Ngannou will be able to make his PFL MMA debut in the early months of 2024.

Combat sports fans have speculated that Ngannou may be disinterested in going back to MMA after making enormous money in boxing. But CEO Peter Murray is certain that in 2024, Ngannou will make his return to MMA.

In an interview shared on Twitter with John Morgan, Murray confirmed Ngannou’s imminent MMA bout:

“Yeah, he’s got a big fight coming up now with (Anthony Joshua) right, on the heels of shocking the world and Tyson Fury, so we’re really proud and happy for Francis, but he will be returning to the cage later this year after the Joshua fight, so we’re putting that fight together, and Francis is going to take on both sports, and it’s just been incredible to watch his journey, and more to come there.”

Morgan then inquired about a scenario in which Ngannou wins against Joshua and decides to return to boxing rather than mixed martial arts.

Murray answered: “No, Francis is committed to the PFL. He’s committed to continuing competing in MMA, so we don’t expect that.”

Ngannou’s PFL contract featured groundbreaking clauses, including his involvement in spearheading PFL’s expansion season in Africa. Ngannou’s participation in PFL Africa would be a historic collaboration that might greatly aid in the promotion’s general growth.

Regretfully, hardly much has been announced about PFL Africa since Ngannou’s deal was signed.

Despite limited updates on PFL Africa post-Ngannou’s contract signing, CEO Peter Murray hinted at significant progress:

“In addition, not only will Francis return to the PFL stage in our Super Fights division, but we’ll be making announcements in March on PFL Africa because it is on for 2025 with Francis at the helm as our chairman.”

“So that league, which will be our third official PFL international regional league, PFL Africa, that will launch in 2025 with competition and athletes from different countries across the continent competing to become champion of PFL Africa, so we’re very excited about it.”

Murray went on to say: “Francis is very excited about it, and just based on Francis, all the adversity that he had to overcome as a professional athlete to leave the continent to become a professional fighter and a champion, now Francis and the PFL will support athletes on the continent. They will not have to leave the continent to compete as professionals, and they’ll have a pathway to become global champions, so we’re really excited about launching that league.”

Francis Ngannou has to compete on March 8 before he can concentrate on his PFL obligations. With his performance against Tyson Fury, the former UFC heavyweight champion cemented his status as a heavyweight boxing superstar. Also, a victory against Anthony Joshua would further transform the combat sports landscape.