Francis Ngannou next MMA fight set against winner of Renan Ferreira vs Ryan Bader

Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou to make MMA return, wants to dominate in boxing

Francis Ngannou is set for his MMA return. The former UFC heavyweight champion is scheduled to face the winner of Renan Ferreira vs Ryan Bader clash that headlines this week’s PFL vs Bellator: Champs.

Ngannou (boxing 0-1, MMA 17-3) is currently booked for his next outing live from Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 8, when he takes on British former two-time unified WBO, WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua (27-3, 24 KOs). The scheduled for 10 rounds boxing match headlines the fight card titled “Knockout Chaos”.

In his pro boxing debut last October, the 37-year-old native of Cameroon dropped a split decision against reigning WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. In the third round of their non-title fight, Ngannou scored a knockdown against British star with a left hook.

In his previous appearance inside the MMA cage in January 2022, Ngannou earned a unanimous decision against Ciryl Gane and made the first successful defense of his UFC heavyweight title. Las Vegas-based fighter claimed the belt by knockout in the second round against Stipe Miocic in the rematch in March 2021.

PFL heavyweight champion Renan Ferreira (12-3, 3 NC) of Brazil and Bellator champion Ryan Bader (31-7, 1 NC) of the U.S. battle it out in the main event live from Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, February 24. The winner’s fight date against Francis Ngannou is to be determined.

Francis Ngannou: I wan’t to dominate in boxing too

“This is my intention to return to the sport [of MMA]. When exactly I don’t know. I think, all depends on March 8,” Francis Ngannou said on SportsCenter today.

When asked why either Ferreira or Bader was the right opponent for his comeback, Ngannou said: “First of all, both are champions. Then, they are going to be champ-champ. So, I think there wasn’t any better way to fight an opponent for me, since I’m a champion myself, just in case you have forgotten”.

“I never thought I finished my MMA career. I just wanted to chase my dream in boxing and then [return to MMA]. Obviously, I can still enjoy both and combine, whenever the opportunity is there. So, I’m not done with MMA. I have an intention to come back and fight, put on some show.”

“To be honest, after doing boxing, the way how complicated is that for me, is a new ground. I really have a feeling that I want to go back a little bit in my comfort zone, dominate a little bit, and come back. But, I don’t just want to do it like I’m quitting boxing, I wan’t to dominate in boxing too.”

Talking about whether the announced intention to return to MMA changed the status of his boxing match against Anthony Joshua, Ngannou said it didn’t change anything. He also said it was a “great opportunity” to earn his shot at the undisputed heavyweight title.

“That doesn’t change anything. I take Anthony Joshua on March 8. Then, I have an opportunity for the undisputed, right away, after two fights. So, I think it’s a great opportunity not to miss out.”

Parviz Iskenderov
Parviz Iskenderov is a former Muay Thai fighter, sports manager and editor at FIGHTMAG.

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