Skip to main content

Francis Ngannou has two possible opponents for his upcoming debut with the Professional Fighters League (PFL), the organisation has said.

Ngannou, who hasn’t fought in mixed martial arts in more than two years, will take on his second challenge in the boxing in March when he takes on the two-time former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia — a fight made possible by Ngannou’s stellar performance in his razor-thin split decision defeat to Tyson Fury last October.

And while his boxing career is taking centre stage at the moment the identity of his opponent in his return to MMA will be revealed this weekend, the PFL has said.

“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,” he added. “We, along with the rest of the MMA world, will be watching to see who his first opponent will be, Ferreira or Bader.”

Former UFC fighter Bader is the reigning Bellator heavyweight champion, and also previously held the promotion’s light heavyweight championship and most recently fought a year ago, where he scored a second first-round TKO win over MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. Ferreira, meanwhile, is the current PFL heavyweight champ and holds a 12-3 record, along with three no-contests.

“I think the winner of this is the guy I’m going to fight in my MMA return,” Ngannou said of this weekend’s fight between Bader and Ferreira in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “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.”