Ariel Helwani reveals Francis Ngannou could find his next MMA home as soon as this week

By Josh Evanoff - May 1, 2023

According to Ariel Helwani, former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou won’t be a free agent for long.

Francis Ngannou

‘The Predator’ has been out of the octagon for over a year, last defeating Ciryl Gane by decision in January 2022. That victory will likely end up being the last of Ngannou’s UFC career, as he left the promotion earlier this year. In the process, he vacated his heavyweight title.

Upon his departure, the former UFC champion stated that he left due to a want to box, and lack of health insurance, among other issues. Despite teases of potential boxing matches with Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, nothing has come to fruition. On the MMA side, Ngannou has yet to sign with an organization as well.

Instead, the opposite has happened. Both BKFC’s David Feldman and ONE Championship’s Chatri Sityodtong have stated that Ngannou is demanding too much money to sign him. The latter even admitted that they didn’t even send a final offer to the former UFC champion.

Nonetheless, according to Ariel Helwani, Francis Ngannou won’t be without a home for long. On The MMA Hour, the longtime journalist stated that the former heavyweight champion was in deep talks with PFL. Helwani opined that a deal could be done as soon as this week.


Ariel Helwani discusses Francis Ngannou’s free agency

“He gives me a call and we have a nice chat. Francis’ side of the story is a bit different,” Ariel Helwani stated on The MMA Hour. “Basically what I can share at this time [is] because he was very transparent. Francis is very close to signing a new deal with another promotion. According to Francis, he was very upfront about this [with ONE Championship]. So they left the meeting on good terms, but, both of them came to an understanding that because, he’s already verbally committed to someone, more than likely he’s not going to ONE.”

He continued, “His feeling, and honestly my feeling is that Chatri, which, you know, in his right to do. Tried to get ahead of the story, tried to save face, by putting it out there that ‘We’re withdrawing’ as opposed to ‘We couldn’t close the deal and get this guy to come’… He’s very close [to a deal], could even be signed this week, he tells me.”

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Ariel Helwani Francis Ngannou