Francis Ngannou: Former UFC champion signs PFL contract
Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has signed a deal with the Professional Fighters League.
Cameroon’s Ngannou, 36, has been a free agent since leaving the UFC in January after the two parties failed to agree on a new contract.
The move represents a significant coup for the PFL, with Ngannou regarded as one of the world’s best heavyweights.
Ngannou will compete in the PFL’s new pay-per-view Super Fight division.
The Super Fight division differs from their regular seasonal format, with fighters competing in one-off events and earning 50% of the revenue from their fight.
Other fighters signed to the division include two-time lightweight champion Kayla Harrison and YouTube star Jake Paul.
Ngannou, who will also serve as chairman of PFL Africa as part of the deal, is set to make his debut in mid-2024, with an opponent yet to be selected.
“I am very excited about this game-changing partnership,” said Ngannou.
“I believe in the PFL’s “fighter first” culture and global vision, including developing the sport in Africa.”
Since becoming a free agent, Ngannou has been vocal about wanting to start a career in boxing, targeting bouts with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and former titleholder Deontay Wilder.
His deal to fight “exclusively in MMA” with the promotion suggests he may still be able to pursue boxing fights outside the organisation. Fellow Super Fight Division fighter Paul boxed in February, losing to Tommy Fury.
Ngannou spent seven years in the UFC, winning 12 of 14 fights, and left the promotion as a reigning champion.
He last fought in January 2022, defending his title in a unanimous decision win over Ciryl Gane, before a knee injury kept him out for the remainder of his contract.
He was then stripped of the title upon his departure from the UFC.
Ngannou cited a “lack of freedom” as the reason for his departure, saying his requests for health insurance and tailored sponsorship deals for fighters had been rejected.