Francis Ngannou is the most intriguing free agent in combat sports currently. The UFC heavyweight champion has been listening to offers ever since securing his release from the UFC earlier this year.
Ngannou had been very vocal about why he continued turning down UFC offers until there was no recourse left but to release him from the promotion. The Cameroonian fighter had revealed that, despite being offered more money to fight in the Octagon, he was not satisfied with the restrictive nature of UFC contracts, specifically, he was annoyed that they prevented him from pursuing pro boxing bouts.
With UFC contracts now out the way, Ngannou seems to be on the path to locking up one of those big money boxing fights he has been dreaming of.
Earlier this month former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder spoke about his desire to fight Ngannou and sign a two-fight contract with ‘The Predator’.
Ngannou has now responded to that news, seemingly agreeing to the match-up over Twitter.
Welcome to the free world @BronzeBomber. I hope you are a man of your word. See you soon #NgannouWilder https://t.co/eYmDbRK2Ug— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) February 17, 2023
“I hope you are a man of your word,” wrote Ngannou. “See you soon.”
Ngannou has never competed in pro boxing. However, the 36-year-old initially began training as a boxer before converting to MMA at Paris’ MMA Factory.
He signed with the UFC in 2015 and put together a five fight winning streak, culminating in a sensational uppercut knockout of Alistair Overeem. That earned Ngannou a 2018 title fight against then champion Stipe Miocic.
Ngannou lost by Miocic via decision and then dropped another decision to Derrick Lewis. After switching camps to Xtreme Couture he went on a tear, stringing together four straight T/KO victories to earn a second shot at Miocic.
At UFC 260 in 2021 he KO’d Miocic in the second round to earn the heavyweight belt. After a long spell on the sidelines, due to both injury and contract negotiations, Ngannou returned at UFC 270 last year to defeat former training partner, and interim champion, Ciryl Gane.
About the author: Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. (full bio)