Francis Ngannou only has one ‘compelling’ opponent in MMA, PFL surprisingly says

PFL founder Donn Davis sees no 'interesting' options for Francis Ngannou's MMA return, except for one 'compelling' name.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 1 month ago
Francis Ngannou only has one ‘compelling’ opponent in MMA, PFL surprisingly says
Louis Grasse / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

Francis Ngannou surpassed everyone’s expectations over the weekend when he fought heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. He may have lost a debated decision, but “The Predator” gained a lot of confidence in his abilities as a boxer.

On the flip side, Ngannou still has his MMA career to return to. And if he were to look at his options, PFL founder Donn Davis sees no other interesting names except for one. 

Francis Ngannou isn’t closing his doors on an MMA return

During an interview after the Fury fight, Francis Ngannou spoke about his future as an MMA fighter. At this point, the 37-year-old former champion is willing to engage in both forms of prizefighting. 

“If I have the skill for both of them, why not? As for right now, I have a deal with PFL, and I’m intending to fight MMA again. I love it. I’m more comfortable. I still love it. 

“I might do some MMA fights, but I’m still going to do boxing. I never intended to just step over and do one fight and just go out. That wasn’t the plan at all, never. The plan is still the same.”

PFL founder sees no other ‘interesting’ options except for one

But if you ask PFL founder Donn Davis, there aren’t many viable options for Francis Ngannou. 

“I think the opponents in pure MMA are not that interesting right now,” he said in his recent appearance on The MMA Hour. “We’re just like the fans, we’re just like the fighters. We’re not like the other companies. ‘Oh, let’s just do it ’cause they’re our guys.’”

There is one name, according to Davis, that is ‘compelling’ enough to push for. 

“There’s only one guy in MMA right now who’s interesting for Francis Ngannou: Jon Jones. One guy. Everybody says, ‘Well, what about Stipe [Miocic]?’ Maybe. Give him a half a point. 1.5 guys who are compelling. 

June 17, 2023, Atlanta, Georgia, USA: Atlanta, GA - June 16: PFL President Ray Sefo stands between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou during PFL Atlanta 5 on June 16, 2023 at the Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta USA - ZUMAp175 20230617_zsa_p175_004
Aaron Litz / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

“I don’t want to say who could put on a good fight for him. There’s three or four other guys who could put on a competitive fight for Francis. 

“So, I’m not talking about a competitive fight, I’m saying compelling.”

From his end, Francis Ngannou is on board with the idea.

The current status of Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic

Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic were the original headliners of UFC 295 in Madison Square Garden two weekends from now. It was supposedly Jones’ first title defense as the heavyweight champion and retirement fight if things went well for him. 

“Bones,” however, had to pull out from the contest due to an injury. He had since undergone surgery for a torn pec and, while original estimates announced by White state that he could remain on the sidelines for the next eight months, a surgeon says he can recover a lot sooner. Jones last saw action in March, winning the vacant title against Ciryl Gane.

As for the 41-year-old Miocic, the clock is ticking. While he refuses to get into the retirement conversation, he likely has a few good years left. He hasn’t fought since 2021, when he lost the title to Francis Ngannou via second-round knockout. 

March 5, 2023, Las Vegas, NV, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States: LAS VEGAS, NV - March 5: Jon Jones meets with the media following his win over Cyril Gane at T-Mobile Arena for UFC 285 -Jones vs Gane : Event on March 5, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV, United States. Las Vegas, NV United States - ZUMAp175 20230305_zsa_p175_006
Louis Grasse / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

You know you can count on us for quick, consistent quality UFC coverage. Bloody Elbow is an independent, reader supported publication. Please subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with our best work and learn how you can support the site.

Share this story

About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories