Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou revealed that he and former WBC king Deontay Wilder may fight twice in the near future. And “The Predator” hopes both matches are in boxing.
Months removed from his UFC departure as the promotion’s heavyweight champion, Ngannou spoke with ESPN about his eventual combat sports return. Although Ngannou said he has had “serious conversations” with ONE Championship and PFL to fight in MMA, boxing Wilder appears to be at the top of The Predator’s list.
“The most that we have spoken is [with] Deontay Wilder’s team,” Ngannou said. “Yes, we’ve been having some exchanges and basically coming to some sort of a verbal agreement that we want to fight each other. We want to fight two fights. We want to fight maybe one of those fights in Africa. Or maybe two of those fights in Africa — which would be massive, which would be great.
“You know next year, I think it’s August next year is the 50th anniversary of Rumble in the Jungle, and I think that would be an opportunity to do something massive in Africa — a big event. We are looking at something around that timeline as well for the potential second fight, which would be, in my opinion, still in boxing.”
Wilder last fought in October when he returned to his winning ways after back-to-back defeats to Tyson Fury, scoring a first-round knockout over Robert Helenius. “The Bronze Bomber” also confirmed that discussions have been ongoing with Ngannou’s team for the two-fight series.
Ngannou Could Sign a Contract With an MMA Promotion Before His First Boxing Match, But He’s Adamant His First Fight Outside the UFC Will Be as a Boxer
Ngannou has a professional mixed martial arts record of 17-3 with 12 wins via KO/TKO and four by submission. And just because he wants to venture into boxing doesn’t mean he’s finished wearing four-ounce gloves. As mentioned, Ngannou confirmed he’s been negotiating with PFL and ONE Championship but “not so much with Bellator.”
“But, there’s not a rush since my first fight has to be in boxing,” Ngannou said in the ESPN interview. So, that’s where my focus is at right now.
“If there is a right contract with the right terms, maybe — I have no problem making an agreement before stepping into a boxing fight.”
Ngannou Never Lost His UFC Championship Inside the Octagon
Ngannou last fought in January 2022 when he earned his first heavyweight title defense by besting Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision at UFC 270. That would prove to be his final Octagon appearance in his championship run as he’d be sidelined from a knee injury for the rest of the year. Then, Ngannou became a free agent and left the promotion in January.
Gane and former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones fought for The Predator’s vacant strap last weekend. “Bones” earned his second divisional title by taking out Gane with a first-round guillotine choke. Much has been made in the MMA community about a clash featuring Jones and Ngannou.
Ngannou told ESPN that even though he wanted to battle Jones “twice a month,” but that desire wasn’t enough to keep him under contract with the UFC.