Francis Ngannou, UFC
Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. Bet365/Twitter


  • Former UFC heavyweight king Francis Ngannou remains an MMA free agent
  • Ngannou reveals on The MMA Hour that he has spoken with ONE Championship
  • Chatri Sityodtong previously claimed Ngannou would get "smoked" in his promotion

Former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is currently a free agent after a contract dispute for the ages with the Dana White-led promotion, and there is now a possibility that he takes his talents to Asia.

In an interview with Ariel Helwani on a recent episode of The MMA Hour, Ngannou told Helwani what his current plans are and which promotions could acquire his services.

"I have made my decision. I haven't got a done deal yet. I know what my next move is going to be. I know that I want to fight boxing first, then after that, I will fight MMA. I'm going to sign with one MMA promotion, [but I'm] very close. It's not like I've been sitting out here empty-handed. I've been very busy," Ngannou said.

When pressed by Helwani, Ngannou mentioned that "there is PFL (Professional Fighters League) and ONE [Championship] that we are very close" while also denying to confirm which organization he is leaning towards.

Ngannou claimed the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion status when he took home the unanimous decision win over Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 270 in January of last year but was eventually stripped of it as he could not come to terms with the company.

"The Predator" revealing that he wants to try his hand at boxing is no surprise at this point for those who have closely followed Ngannou's recent dealings outside of the UFC.

After he decided to fully shut his doors on the UFC in January this year, boxing icon Oscar De La Hoya threw his hat in the ring to represent Ngannou in his boxing ventures–with the hope of fighting undefeated heavyweight king Tyson Fury in the near future.

Fight fans would note that Ngannou was willing to re-up his deal with the UFC if they would include health insurance, bring back sponsorships for all athletes, and a fighter advocate present during contract negotiations.

Should he take his talents to ONE Championship, the Singapore-based combat sports outfit will have gained one of the best heavyweight stars in the world to compete with its own.

Instant dream matchups fans would want to see against Ngannou are interim ONE heavyweight champion Anatoly Malykhin and lineal ONE heavyweight titlist Arjan Bhullar.

In that same vein, however, the link to the organization is a curious one as ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong previously stated that he stands little chance against their fighters.

Following their 20-fight extravaganza ONE X in March 2022, Chatri had the following to say about Ngannou.

"I like Francis Ngannou but I think our heavyweights would smoke him. He's just not a complete fighter... Look at [ONE interim heavyweight champion] Anatoly Malykhin. Russian national pedigree wrestler, dynamite in his hands. Much faster than Francis, better ground game, black-belt level," he stated.

"You look at [lineal ONE heavyweight champion] Arjan Bhullar, wrestling, boxing. Francis is not very impressive on the ground. He's got big, looping punches. He's not as technical of a boxer as Anatoly or even Arjan."

The only way to determine whether Chatri's claims hold weight is to have Ngannou bring his talents to ONE Championship and step in the cage against them—should he decide to do so.

Francis Ngannou lands a punch on Stipe Miocic
Francis Ngannou lands a punch on Stipe Miocic @UFC on Twitter