Francis Ngannou PFL Debut ‘No Later’ Than September, Executive Claims

Francis Ngannou
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Many are still waiting to see Francis Ngannou debut inside the PFL SmartCage.

According to founder Donn Davis, that will happen later this year. The promotion is planning a return to Saudi Arabia with Ngannou expected to compete.

Related: Francis Ngannou next fight: 3 opponent options for ‘The Predator’ including Deontay Wilder

“I’m rooting for Francis all the time, but now he’s coming back early,” Davis said on The MMA Hour (thanks to MMA Fighting for the quotes). “Will it be as early as July? Maybe. Will it be as late as September? No later.

But you’ll see Francis now in 2024, in PFL.

Ngannou’s opponent is expected to be Renan Ferreira, who knocked off Ryan Bader at PFL vs. Bellator earlier this year. The win earned the reigning heavyweight champion the opportunity to test the ex-UFC titleholder.

Francis Ngannou Boxing Caused Delays In PFL Debut

The issue with booking Ngannou inside the SmartCage was due to his opportunities in boxing.

Ngannou faced off against Tyson Fury this past October, dropping a close decision. He also met Anthony Joshua in March and was bested.

Read More: 2024 PFL Schedule: Fight card, betting odds, watch times for PFL Season

After signing with PFL in 2023, Ngannou was given the opening to test his skills in the ring. Had he bested Joshua, that would have delayed his MMA return.

“People asked me before the fight (vs. Joshua), ‘Who do I think will win? Who would I want to win?'” Davis said. “I obviously root for Francis all the time. He’s our partner and I truly do. But he would not have fought in MMA until the first quarter of 2025 (with a win).

“We talked to him about that and I was very vocal about that. He would have absolutely fought, but it would have been December at the earliest; more likely February of 2025.”

PFL PPV To Include Francis Ngannou, Cris Cyborg

Davis also revealed that the event will include Cris Cyborg vs. Larissa Pacheco as the co-main event.

Cedric Doumbe is also slated for action from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“(The card) is going to be big just because of Francis,” Davis said. “That (card) will have other compelling matchups on it.

“Details in terms of the full card, in terms of the month and the time, we won’t announce that for about two more months.”

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