Francis Ngannou is in talks with ONE Championship. The former UFC heavyweight champion made the revelation during a recent interview with ESPN in which he discussed his current options.
Ngannou walked away from the UFC last year, deciding to hand back his heavyweight title and explore free agency. He wants to compete in boxing next but is also in talks with several MMA promotions including ONE Championship.
He told ESPN that,
I have been having some serious conversations with PFL also with ONE not so much with Bellator, but there’s not a rush since my first fight has to be in boxing so that’s where my focus is at right now (but) I have no problem making an agreement before I step into a boxing fight.
In Ngannou’s absence a new heavyweight champion was crowned earlier this month. Jon Jones stopped Cyril Gane in the opening round at UFC 285 to win the title that the Cameroonian vacated.
He has previously stated that his next destination in MMA will either be ONE Championship, the PFL or Bellator although interest from the latter promotion appears to be a bit lukewarm. But before Ngannou returns to the sport he is set to make his boxing debut.
He recently told TMZ that he was looking to fight former heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder,
He’s available, he’s ready for that, he wants it. So, we are looking into that. That’s something I’m very excited about.
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Wilder is best known for his trilogy of heavyweight title fights with Tyson Fury. He drew the first one and was stopped in the next two but managed to knock the Englishman down four times.
He has a well deserved reputation for being the hardest hitting boxer on the planet and there would definitely be a lot of interest in a fight with Ngannou. The Cameroonian says there are talking about a two fight deal which could keep him busy for the next year or two.
But after that he will be looking to return to MMA and Ngannou is not likely to be short of suitors. ONE Championship currently has an undefeated interim heavyweight champion in Anatoly Malykhin.
Malykhin is facing regular champion Arjan Bhullar in a unification bout at ONE Fight Night 8. If he wins that then Ngannou would be the ideal candidate to challenge the Russian but first he has some boxing business to attend to.