The combat sports world is buzzing with excitement after PFL's recent signing of former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. The Predator made headlines earlier this year when he parted ways with the UFC, becoming the first champion to leave the organization since BJ Penn in 2004. His signing with the PFL has sparked intrigue and speculation, with fighters and fans eagerly anticipating his next move.
Ngannou's decision to join PFL came as a surprise to many, but it opens up a world of new possibilities for the powerful striker. In addition to competing in the PFL and helping lead a fighter advocacy board, Ngannou revealed his intention to explore the realm of boxing. The Cameroonian fighter has already sparked interest from notable boxers such as Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, hinting at potential crossover bouts that could captivate the combat sports community.
The signing of Ngannou naturally reignited discussions about his tumultuous departure from the UFC. After a falling out with UFC President Dana White, it seemed unlikely that Ngannou would ever return to the promotion. However, his new home in PFL has led to an intriguing proposition from an unexpected source.
Enter Jake Paul, the controversial YouTube star-turned-boxer. Paul took to social media to propose a monumental event: a PFL vs. UFC card. Paul's vision includes marquee matchups like Ngannou against former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and a clash between dominant women's champion Amanda Nunes and PFL standout Kayla Harrison. He also called for a showdown between UFC welterweight Leon Edwards and former kickboxing champion Cedric Doumbe. Not to be left out, Paul himself expressed interest in stepping into the cage to face UFC fan favorite Nate Diaz.
While this ambitious crossover event captures the imagination, it's important to note that Ngannou's promotional debut in the PFL won't occur until 2024. In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Ngannou shared his plans to make his boxing debut before stepping into the PFL cage.
This delay allows the promotion to potentially sign another high-caliber heavyweight to face the hard-hitting Ngannou. It's worth mentioning that Ngannou's contract stipulates that his opponent will earn a whopping one million dollars to face him, highlighting the immense value and drawing power of the heavyweight star.
Although Ngannou has temporarily closed the door on a potential clash with the legendary Jon Jones in the octagon, as he mentioned in a recent interview, he remains open to any opportunity to square off against the former light heavyweight champion. The possibility of Ngannou and Jones sharing the ring or cage remains an enticing prospect that fans can only dream of at this point.
As fight enthusiasts eagerly await the future showdowns involving Ngannou, Jake Paul's audacious proposal has added another layer of excitement to the mix. The idea of a PFL vs. UFC mega event featuring some of the biggest names in combat sports is undeniably enticing. While logistical challenges and contractual obligations may complicate the realization of Paul's vision, it serves as a reminder that the world of combat sports is filled with surprises, and anything is possible.