Francis Ngannou's successful deal with the PFL has sparked inspiration among numerous MMA fighters. While many publicly lauded the 'Predator' for achieving his desired terms in the new contract, others also viewed it as an opportunity to earn a shot at Ngannou himself.
Ngannou's deal not only benefits him personally but also serves as an enticing prospect for his next opponent, who stands to receive a hefty $2 million payout. So, who is eager to step up for that significant payday?
One athlete who has shown interest is former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. In an interview on MMA Fighting's podcast Trocacao Franca, 'Cigano' spoke highly of Francis Ngannou's new contract. He expressed admiration for what the Predator had accomplished and emphasized the importance of professional fighters working together to secure greater benefits in future deals.
Dos Santos stated, "Ngannou's actions are admirable because they stem from a person with unwavering values who won't compromise them for trivial rewards. Why has something like this never happened before? Because people prioritize their own gains, saying, 'I'll get something for myself and forget the rest.' But it doesn't feel that way with Francis Ngannou. It feels like he genuinely wants to make a difference."
"MMA fighters and martial artists, in general, are thrilled to hear what he's saying," dos Santos continued. "To witness him opening new doors and shattering long-standing barriers without any hesitation—this is truly remarkable."
Furthermore, Junior dos Santos entertains the idea of a boxing match against Ngannou. Although Francis Ngannou has signed with the Professional Fighters League, his contract permits him to participate in boxing matches concurrently. Dos Santos believes it would make for an exceptional spectacle if they were to meet again, this time in the boxing ring.
Having previously faced Ngannou in the UFC and suffering a TKO loss in 2019, the Brazilian fighter is fully available for a rematch, this time in the realm of boxing. However, he would not dismiss the possibility of a regular MMA fight in the PFL, especially considering the financial reward.
"If he needs me, I can be his first opponent to test himself in boxing," Cigano stated.
"I'm completely in," he chuckled, responding to Ngannou's demand that no fighter in the PFL should be paid less than $2 million. "That truly reflects his values. He seeks change and understands that altering the system solely for himself serves no purpose. It must be a collective effort to improve things for both promoters and ensure that fighters receive the support and special attention they require."
It's worth noting that Junior dos Santos has encountered a challenging phase in his MMA career, having not won a fight in the past four years. Since a TKO loss to Yorgan de Castro in May 2022, he has suffered five consecutive knockout defeats against Castro, Ciryl Gane, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Curtis Blaydes, and Francis Ngannou. His last victory came in March 2019 when he knocked out Derrick Lewis.
In contrast, Francis Ngannou is currently on a six-fight winning streak, securing victories against Ciryl Gane, Stipe Miocic, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Junior dos Santos, Cain Velasquez, and Curtis Blaydes. His last loss occurred in July 2018 when he fell to Derrick Lewis via unanimous decision at UFC 226. As of now, the Predator has yet to announce a date or opponent for his PFL debut.