In an interview with The Schmo, Kayla Harrison, a former two-time lightweight champion of the Professional Fighters League (PFL), shared her opinion on the possibility of Francis Ngannou joining the organisation. Francis Ngannou stated that he is near to signing with either PFL or ONE Championship, but he also stated that he wants to fight.
The American Top Team (ATT) athlete Kayla Harrison stated she respected the former UFC heavyweight champion and said “he’s the man” in her eyes. Here is what the combatant from Danvers, Massachusetts, had to say:
“Look, Francis knows his worth. Francis knows that he’s got a lot of options. I have nothing but respect for him and everything he’s done – the way he stands up for fighters and their rights. And he’s the man in my eyes. So, he can do whatever he wants, wherever he wants. I hope he comes to the the PFL because it’s been a great home for me and I know it could be for him as well.”
After her PFL contract expired in 2021, there were rumours that Kayla Harrison would join the UFC. Many people hoped she would fight Amanda Nunes, the female fighter ranked No. 1 in the world in terms of pound-for-pound competition, at featherweight. When Julianna Pena defeated the bantamweight champion at UFC 269, “Doug” was also present.
Harrison ultimately opted to re-sign with the Professional Fighters League rather than sign with the UFC (or Bellator, where she was rumoured to face Cris Cyborg). Harrison receives a salary from the PFL that is “greater than 99.9% of female fighters,” according to Ariel Helwani.
Sean O’Malley on Francis Ngannou leaving the UFC
Sean O’Malley and his head coach Mike Welch made a prediction about Ngannou’s future on an episode of their podcast. Welch responded to O’Malley’s claim that the UFC pays its athletes the most by adding that Ngannou might compete for a larger salary in the PFL.
According to Mike Welch, “When you’re a star like that [Francis Ngannou], yeah [you’ll get paid a lot and gain a lot of attention in the] UFC. When you’re not really a star, you might make some more money in [the] PFL.”
In response, O’Malley said: “I agree. But, Francis is the scariest motherf****r in the world, and he’s not going to be fighting in the UFC?”
In January 2022, Francis Ngannou competed in his final heavyweight championship defence at UFC 270 against Ciryl Gane. His contract stipulated that the fight with “Bon Gamin” would be the final one. During his second championship defence, “The Predator” was allegedly going to face Jon Jones. Francis Ngannou, though, left the UFC when contract talks with the top MMA organisation fell down.
The search for Francis Ngannou’s new MMA home is almost complete
Ngannou formally became a free agent in January after lengthy contract negotiations with the UFC fell through. Since Ngannou said he had reduced down his options for his future MMA promotion to two top contenders, free agency now seems to be nearing an end.
On March 15, Ngannou spoke with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. He said:
“I have made a decision. Without making a done deal, I know what my next move is going to be. I know that I want to fight boxing first and then after that I will fight MMA. I’m going to sign with one MMA promotion. I haven’t made a decision on that yet, [but I’m] very close. …
“PFL and ONE FC right now, we are very close. We will see.”
It would be a triumph for any organisation to sign Ngannou, the top-ranked heavyweight in the world, as they are two of the top non-UFC promotions in the sport. Ngannou has not yet chosen between the two, but “The Predator” has been pleased with how the talks have gone.
Ngannou made the UFC contracts’ restrictions and the promotion’s lack of respect for him one of the main reasons for his problems with the organisation. Throughout his brief period of free agency, that hasn’t been the case.