Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou Joins PFL, Signs Game-Changing Contract

Photo: Instagram/Francis Ngannou

Francis Ngannou, the former UFC heavyweight champion, has recently made headlines by signing a contract with the Professional Fighters League (PFL).

After parting ways with the UFC in January due to a failure to reach an agreement on a new contract, Ngannou, hailing from Cameroon, has been a free agent. This acquisition by the PFL is a significant achievement, as Ngannou is widely recognized as one of the top heavyweights in the world.

In the PFL, Ngannou will participate in the newly established pay-per-view Super Fight division. Unlike the league's regular seasonal format, this division will feature one-off events, with fighters earning 50% of the revenue generated from their fights.

Photo: Instagram/Francis Ngannou achieved an impressive record by winning 12 out of his 14 fights, during his time in the UFC.

Notable athletes who have also signed up for this division include two-time lightweight champion Kayla Harrison and YouTube personality Jake Paul.

As part of his agreement with the PFL, Ngannou will assume the role of chairman of PFL Africa, contributing to the organization's efforts to develop the sport on the African continent.

Although his debut date in the PFL is set for mid-2024, an opponent has yet to be determined. Ngannou expressed his enthusiasm for this groundbreaking partnership, emphasizing his belief in the PFL's commitment to the well-being of fighters and their global vision for the sport's growth, particularly in Africa.

Ngannou's decision to exclusively compete in MMA with the PFL suggests that he may still have opportunities to pursue boxing matches outside of the organization.

Despite his interest in boxing and his desire to face heavyweight champions like Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, Ngannou's contract with the PFL focuses on mixed martial arts. In February, fellow Super Fight Division fighter Jake Paul, who gained fame through YouTube, entered the boxing ring but suffered a defeat against Tommy Fury.

During his seven-year tenure in the UFC, Ngannou achieved remarkable success, winning 12 out of 14 fights and departing the promotion as the reigning champion. In his last UFC fight in January 2022, he successfully defended his title with a unanimous decision victory over Ciryl Gane.

Unfortunately, a knee injury prevented Ngannou from competing further under his UFC contract, and as a result, he was stripped of the championship upon leaving the organization.

Ngannou cited a "lack of freedom" as a major factor in his departure, highlighting his unsuccessful attempts to secure health insurance and tailored sponsorship deals for fighters.

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Source: BBC Sports

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