Coach Eric Nicksick Touches On Francis Ngannou’s Competitive Return

Francis Ngannou is clearly still in the midst of the grieving process following the tragic loss of his 15-month-old son earlier this year, but it seems he is beginning to repair as he recently returned to the gym.

Ngannou is currently signed to the PFL, but has not made yet made an appearance with the promotion, and currently no plans for him have been announced. Most recently, Ngannou is coming off a devastating knockout in the boxing ring, courtesy of former champion Anthony Joshua. Prior to this, he made a memorable splash in his professional boxing debut when he dropped Tyson Fury with a well-placed shot. While Ngannou would go on to lose to Fury on the scorecards, his point was made.

In a recent interview on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Ngannou’s head coach, Eric Nicksick, touched on the potential return of “The Predator”, and indicated the former UFC heavyweight champion will be fighting with a different motivation.

“He’s healing,” Nicksick said of Ngannou on The MMA Hour. “That’s the best I can say. He’s healing. You’re seeing the smile back on his face. You’re seeing the banter. He’s back in the gym talking trash to [Sean] Strickland and everybody around the room. That’s the most important thing. But all the while, you know there’s a lot of healing going on inside. Every once in a while he’ll have that moment where a vulnerability [shows itself].”

“He looked at me at dinner last week and was like, ‘This next one’s for Kobe.’ That shit hit me,” Nicksick said referencing Ngannou’s son. “I was like, f*ck, whoever you’re fighting next, God bless them. If this is what we’re fighting for, this man is going to be dialed in.

“I really don’t know, to be honest with you,” Nicksick said about the timeline for Ngannou’s next fight. “I hope so [in 2024]. I hope so, because I think keeping him busy has been the best thing for him. It’s helped him a lot.


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