Francis Ngannou announces return fight in MMA after Anthony Joshua boxing match

By Cole Shelton - February 22, 2024

Francis Ngannou will be returning to MMA and make his PFL debut.

Francis Ngannou

Following Ngannou becoming a free agent, he signed with PFL but said he would be exploring boxing fights first. He ended up getting a boxing match against Tyson Fury, which he lost by split decision, and will return to the boxing ring on March 8 in Saudi Arabia against Anthony Joshua.

Yet, ahead of his boxing match against Joshua, Ngannou announced he will return to MMA to face the winner of Renan Fereira vs. Ryan Bader on Saturday.

“The PFL is excited to announce Francis Ngannou’s return to MMA in the PFL PPV Division will be against the winner of the PFL Champion vs Bellator Champion Heavyweight super fight between Renan Ferreira and Ryan Bader,” PFL CEO Pete Murray said in a press release. “Francis is a true combat sports icon with a global fan base and appeal. We, along with the rest of the MMA world, will be watching to see who his first opponent will be, Ferreira or Bader.”

Following the announcement, Francis Ngannou went on SportsCenter to confirm his intentions of returning to MMA.

“I think the winner of this is the guy I’m going to fight in my MMA return,” Ngannou said on SportsCenter. “It is my intention to return to the sport. When exactly, I think depends on March 8. Everything depends on March 8. (Bader and Ferreira) are both champions and one of them is going to be a champ-champ. So, I think there wasn’t a better way to find an opponent for me, since I am a champion myself, just in case you have forgotten.”

Renan Fereira is the current PFL heavyweight champion while Ryan Bader is Bellator’s heavyweight champion, as the two will be headlining Saturday’s PFL vs. Bellator card. By Ngannou and PFL announcing that he will face the winner of that fight, it only adds to the card on Saturday as the stakes for Fereira vs. Bader got that much higher.

Francis Ngannou hasn’t fought in MMA since January 2022 when he beat Ciryl Gane by decision to defend his heavyweight title. That ended up being the last fight of his deal and he ended up in free agency. Ngannou is currently 17-3 as a pro and riding a six-fight winning streak. In his MMA career, he holds notable wins over Stipe Miocic, Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Cain Velasquez, and Curtis Blaydes, twice.

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Francis Ngannou Professional Fighters League (PFL)