In a significant career move, Francis Ngannou made a calculated gamble in 2023, and it paid off handsomely. Ngannou chose not to renew his contract with the UFC and instead signed with the Professional Fighters League (PFL). This decision not only granted him equity in the promotion but also bestowed upon him a leadership role.
What set Ngannou’s journey apart was the flexibility he gained to step into the boxing world. In a jaw-dropping turn of events, he faced Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia. Although he suffered a controversial split decision loss, he left an indelible mark by dropping the British boxing sensation. The reported eight-figure payday for the fight was a testament to his newfound boxing prowess.
Despite the loss, Ngannou’s star has never shone brighter. As a former UFC heavyweight champion, he now finds himself presented with a plethora of opportunities both inside the ring and the cage. Reflecting on the decision-making process and the various promotions vying for his signature, Ngannou shared his insights.
“I had a lot of controversial opinions about my career decisions because most of those things were about my career this year,” Ngannou revealed on his YouTube channel. “Then negotiations with different organizations that were interested. A lot of them were just trying to navigate the narrative and potentially get some promotion. We have a lot of different people – some two faces.”
He continued, “It’s part of the business, and that’s something that I learned this year – how this business can be nasty. You have people who pretend to be something that they are not. But it’s a good part of the learning process. Becoming a fighter and stepping into that position is something you are not educated about. Most fighters never get educated, and that’s why, for the most part, fighters keep getting screwed.”
While organizations like ONE Championship and Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) expressed interest in signing Ngannou, the decision was clear for “The Predator.” The PFL offered an irresistible package, which Ngannou gladly embraced.
“I’m lucky I got into the position where I had to learn that, and then comes the PFL with a great offer, a great contract, and a great opportunity that I couldn’t turn down,” Ngannou affirmed.