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Francis Ngannou’s MMA comeback fight narrowed down to two opponents


Francis Ngannou will discover his opponent on his MMA comeback fight on Saturday night.

The former UFC heavyweight world champion is taking on Anthony Joshua in an exhibition boxing bout on March 8 but is then expected to return to his bread and butter.


Ngannou made his name in MMA and intends to make a return to the sport after fighting JoshuaCredit: Getty

And that opponent will be either 2023 Professional Fighters League champion Renan Ferreira or MMA Bellator champ Ryan Bader, who lock horns on Saturday.

It’s not clear when the future bout will happen with both Ngannou and Ferreira or Bader still to fight themselves.

Before the announcement, Ngannou said: “It is my intention to return to the sport. When exactly, I think depends on March 8

“[Ferreira and Bader] are both champions and one of them is going to be a ‘Champ Champ.’ So, I think there isn’t a better way to find an opponent [for me], since I am a champion myself.”


The Cameroonian parted ways with the UFC in 2023 despite never losing his heavyweight belt and signed an exclusive contract with the PFL.

That deal allowed Ngannou to box, which he exercised in October 2023 as he took on WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

Ngannou lost the exhibition fight via split-decision but gave the ‘Gypsy King’ a fright by knocking him down in the third round.

The 37-year-old earned widespread praise for going toe-to-toe with the two-time heavyweight world champion and has been rewarded with a showdown against another two-time heavyweight champ in Joshua, which will take place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“I never thought I had finished my MMA career,” Ngannou said. “I just wanted to chase my dream in boxing.

“Obviously, I can do both and combine them whenever the opportunity is there.

“I’m not done with MMA. How complicated that is for me will be new ground, but I really have a feeling I want to go back to my comfort zone and dominate for a little bit and then come back to boxing.”

Brazilian Ferreira, who stands at a mighty 6ft 8ins, has finished four of his last six official fights via first-round knockout.

Meanwhile, American Bader is a two-weight Bellator champ who fought as a light-heavyweight in the UFC.

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