Francis Ngannou KOs Alistair Overeem with brutal uppercut
Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has announced he has signed a contract with the Professional Fighters League after leaving the UFC. Ngannou and the UFC could not reach a contract extension, meaning the fighter became an unrestricted free agent.
The 36-year-old has spoken throughout this year about becoming a boxer, and a number of fights were mooted but his deal with the PFL – a mixed martial arts league – means his all-round skills will still be on display. In the UFC, Ngannou was the reigning heavyweight champion before being stripped of the belt in mid-January after negotiations ceased. The Cameroon-born fighter becomes the first current champion to leave the company since BJ Penn two decades ago.
Ngannou was with the UFC for seven years, winning 12 out of 14 fights. A knee injury meant he was last in the ring almost 18 months ago, in January 2022, against Ciryl Gane.
In PFL, The Predator will debut in mid-2024 against an as-yet-unnamed opponent. Ngannou has now shared further details about the move since announcing the switch.
“This decision with PFL wasn’t done overnight, believe me, it was a thoughtful process to get here to find the right fit, the right promotion with the value that matches with mine,” Ngannou explained in a video uploaded onto his YouTube channel Tuesday.
“Some of you might disagree that it is a great decision, and I get it, it’s OK, but, for me, for my family, and for Africa, this is the best decision that I will ever take for my career, for my business, and for everything.
“This is the best business decision I have ever made. At the beginning of my free agency, I didn’t know that I could have a deal structure in this way.”
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Delving further into the details, Ngannou continues: “I have myself a good guarantee which is more important. So, don’t you worry about me fumbling the bag.
“I have a good guarantee. And, most importantly, I was even able to have a guarantee of $2million for my opponent, whoever I’m going to fight next is going to make money too.”
Addressing other offers during his free agency period, the fighter added: “With all due respect to all the other promotions, nobody could get anywhere close to this pull. All the stuff that matters to me, nobody really cares about; everybody just wants to get the fight out of you and then shake hands, goodbye, take money, shake hands, goodbye.”
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