Cameroon-born fighter, Francis Ngannou, is set to make a comeback to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) this year, casting uncertainty on the anticipated rematch with Tyson Fury. This development follows confirmation from Professional Fighters League CEO Peter Murray, emphasising the impact on the potential boxing rematch with Fury.
Ngannou, who has been absent from MMA since his UFC heavyweight title defence against Ciryl Gane in January 2022, faced a hiatus due to a knee injury. Subsequently, he was stripped of his title upon exiting the UFC. Despite signing with the Professional Fighters League in May last year, Ngannou has not yet debuted in the promotion, opting instead to make a notable boxing appearance against Fury last October. The bout saw Ngannou floor Fury in the third round, nearly securing a victory in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Despite a split decision in favour of Fury, the outcome was met with controversy, with many believing Fury was fortunate to maintain his unbeaten record.
Ngannou is scheduled to fight Anthony Joshua on March 8 but has expressed a desire to rematch Fury by October this year. However, Murray’s announcement about Ngannou’s return to MMA suggests a delay in any potential rematch with Fury. Murray hinted at a summer event for Ngannou’s MMA return, expressing excitement for Ngannou’s upcoming boxing match against Joshua but advising not to underestimate Ngannou’s capabilities.
The possibility of a rematch with Fury was further elaborated by Ngannou last month, revealing a contractual clause for a rematch within 12 months of their initial fight. Ngannou remains focused on Fury, indifferent to the outcome of Fury’s bout against Oleksandr Usyk. He asserts a personal vendetta against Fury, seeking a rematch regardless of Fury’s status.
Fury, on the other hand, has disclosed his extensive fight plans, which include two fights with Usyk, at least one bout against Joshua, and a rematch with Ngannou. At 35, Fury claims to be in the prime of his career and not planning retirement anytime soon, promising several high-profile fights to excite fans.
As Ngannou prepares for his fight against Joshua, the MMA and boxing communities eagerly await the outcomes and potential future matchups, including the much-discussed rematch with Tyson Fury.