UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou’s recovery is going well, according to Xtreme Couture coach Eric Nicksick.
Despite suffering a serious knee injury prior to the fight, Ngannoun managed to come out on top against interim champ Ciryl Gane to successfully unify the titles at UFC 270 back in January. This injury required surgery in March to repair a torn MCL and damaged ACL, and four months later, it appears his recovery is going to schedule.
“I think he’s either ahead of schedule or on track, one or the other,” Nicksick told MMA Junkie Radio. “And from what I’ve gathered (from UFC Performance Institute staff), he’s making great strides. He’s back in the gym moving around, hitting pads and stuff.”
Gane and Tai Tuivasa will be headlining a UFC Fight Night on September 3 in Paris. The winner may get a chance to stack his claim to a title shot.
Former 205-pound champion Jon Jones’ heavyweight debut is also on the horizon, and UFC president Dana White has said the former heavyweight champ could possibly challenge Ngannou.
Ngannou is in line for an end-of-year comeback or fight in early 2023, as long as everything goes as planned.
For Nicksick, he just can’t wait to work with Ngannou at full speed again.
“That’s the biggest thing for me as a coach,” Nicksick said. “What I miss out on is time of growing, areas that we can improve on. That’s where I get like, ‘Oh man, we’re not doing enough X, Y, Z.’ And I’m OK with that. We don’t have a fight lined up or anything right now. His main focus is getting his knee rehabbed to the point where we can get back in the lab and start doing these things again. Hopefully, and it sounds like for what he’s saying that if something were to happen, it would be the end of the year or early 2023.”