LAS VEGAS – Ray Sefo was impressed with how Francis Ngannou handled himself in his boxing debut against Tyson Fury, but the former UFC heavyweight champion’s near victory in the ring could lead to changes in plans for his PFL debut.
Prior to facing Fury, Ngannou was expected to make his PFL debut in Q1 of 2024. However, Ngannou’s success in the ring has given PFL president Sefo and other execs in the promotion pause about Ngannou’s return to MMA, considering the rise in talks of a potential rematch with Fury, or other matchups against top heavyweight boxers like Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua.
“That’s something we got to talk to the team more about,” Sefo told reporters during a media scrum at Xtreme Couture.” I know, and obviously with Francis as well, I know he’s going to want to take a little bit of time off. At the moment he’s scheduled to compete in February, but right now, I think it’s one of those things where we just got to sit down with the team, and of course with Francis, and figure that out and see where we go from here.”
PFL founder Donn Davis recently stated he believes MMA options for Ngannou “are not that interesting right now” and expects another boxing match next. Ngannou is expected to make a decision about his next step in the coming weeks.
Although the PFL may end up waiting a little longer before the biggest signing in the company’s history makes his debut with the promotion, all involved appear unbothered by the situation as they heap praise on “The Predator.”
“What he did was truly amazing,” Sefo said. “It wasn’t just another MMA fighter boxing, and he wasn’t just fighting anybody. He was fighting the boxing heavyweight champion of the world. So, to see him do what he did was truly amazing because a lot of people doubted him. I personally thought he’d probably have one to five rounds to put Tyson Fury away. But when he dropped Tyson Fury, that also gave him a lot more confidence in what he was doing. He was so composed, he was patient, and the fact that he went 10 rounds with the heavyweight champion is truly remarkable.
“I’m so happy for Francis. Everyone was saying, ‘Nah, he’s going to get outboxed.’ That didn’t happen. Francis was right there throughout the fight, and that fight could have easily gone his way. I mean, what, there was one point in it? In my opinion, he won, because nobody expected him to go 10 rounds with the heavyweight champion of the world. So, in my opinion, congrats, Francis. You did great, brother.”