PFL CEO Predicts Ngannou’s MMA Debut This Year, Brendan Schaub Remains Skeptical

PFL CEO Peter Murray still expects to see Ngannou fight in the PFL this year. 

Ngannou’s current focus is Anthony Joshua, as the pair have agreed to fight on March 8-9, 2024. The former UFC heavyweight champion fell short on his boxing debut against Tyson Fury, who won a split decision on October 28, 2023. Ngannou had his moments in the fight after sending Fury to the canvas in the third round. Fury recovered and won the tighter rounds, but some felt Ngannou had done enough to win. The performance earned Ngannou a top-ten WBC ranking. Despite the boxing success, Murray expects Ngannou to fight in the PFL this year. 

“Yeah, he’s got a big fight coming up now with AJ right on the heels of shocking the world and Tyson Fury, so we’re really proud and happy for Francis, but he will be returning to the cage later this year after the Joshua fight.

“So we’re putting that fight together, and Francis is going to take on both sports, and it’s just been incredible to watch his journey and more to come there. In addition, not only will Francis return to the PFL stage in our super fights division, but we’ll be making announcements in March on PFL Africa because it is on for 2025 with Francis at the helm as our chairman,” Murray said

The Joshua fight, however, has raised concerns over Ngannou’s MMA career. The Fury fight earned Ngannou the highest purse of his career, upwards of $10 million. The Joshua fight will provide something similar, unlike any MMA fight. Outside of Jon Jones, who is in the UFC, the demand to see Ngannou in MMA has diminished. With Dana White ruling out a cross-promotion, the fight won’t happen unless Jones joins the PFL. There is also the question of whether Ngannou can commit to two sports at the highest level. Former UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub cannot see Ngannou making an MMA return. 

“The PFL thing never made sense to me, and I think PFL is his side chick. I think it’s a Plan B. With them, it was like, because remember, it was really up in the air because he was hoping that it was going to work out, and Fury was going back and forth so he didn’t know, and it dragged out.

“But he got the Fury fight, and I think PFL is just the Plan B if the Fury and Joshua stuff didn’t work out. It’s working out, so he’s like, ‘(Sorry). I just think PFL was a side piece in this equation, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for him to fight Fury, fight Joshua and probably make more money, and then the Wilder fight is always there,” Schaub

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