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Former UFC champ turned free agent Francis Ngannou joins PFL

Jan 22, 2022; Anaheim, California, USA; Francis Ngannou poses for photos following his championship victory at UFC 270 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou signed an exclusive multi-fight deal with the Professional Fighters League on Tuesday.

Ngannou, 36, fought out of his UFC contract to become one of the biggest free agents in MMA history. He is expected to make his PFL debut in 2024 against an opponent yet to be named.

“The PFL is excited to announce its groundbreaking strategic partnership with Francis Ngannou, the greatest heavyweight fighter in the world,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a statement. “Ngannou will anchor the PFL’s star-studded PPV Super Fight Division, serve on PFL’s Global Athlete Advisory Board and will be a chairman and equity owner in PFL Africa.

“Beyond working with Francis to advance the sport of MMA and scale PFL globally, I’m personally looking forward to supporting Francis in his commitment to fight for communities in Africa and around the world, inspired by his vision for the Francis Ngannou Foundation.”

Born in Cameroon and now fighting out of Las Vegas, Ngannou owns a 17-3-0 career record. He beat Stipe Miocic in March 2021 to claim the UFC heavyweight championship, then successfully defended his title against Cyril Gane in January 2022.

“I am very excited for this game changing partnership with the Professional Fighters League to continue my MMA fighting career in the PFL’s PPV Super Fight Division,” Ngannou said. “I believe in the PFL’s ‘fighter first’ culture and global vision including developing the sport in Africa. With that, I am also proud to announce that I will serve as Chairman of PFL Africa which will be the leading MMA organization on the continent providing great African fighters the opportunity to compete on a global platform.”

UFC president Dana White announced on Jan. 14 that the promotion was parting ways from Ngannou as its heavyweight champion and would not continue contract negotiations. Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones captured Ngannou’s vacated title on March 4 by submitting Gane in the first round at UFC 285.

–Field Level Media

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