Donn Davis celebrates Francis Ngannou’s boxing success, happy to wait until 2025 for PFL debut

Donn Davis is happy for Francis Ngannou’s success, even if it means PFL will have to wait a little longer to have him.

At the beginning of 2023, PFL signed Ngannou to a lucrative partnership deal, allowing Ngannou to pursue his interests in boxing with an expected debut in 2024. Ngannou did just that, losing a controversial split decision to lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in October. Now he’s set to face former heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua in a 10-round boxing match this Friday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

This obviously pushed back the idea of an early 2024 PFL debut for Ngannou, and led fans to speculate on whether “The Predator” will ever compete in the SmartCage given his boxing success. But Davis is not concerned.

“I have no worry about my partner being too successful,” Davis said recently on The MMA Hour. “This is like having a brother that is too rich and he’s not going to take you out to Cabo on his private plane. Could I be so lucky to have this brother? I love our partner Francis Ngannou being so successful! I love it! Do I have any worries about him fighting for us? No. Is it going to take longer to schedule? Sure. Do we have to get his opponent way better? Of course!

“But is that going to make the fight even more exciting? One hundred percent! Francis’ success makes our task of getting him an opponent harder, but it’s going to make his fight even bigger for PFL. It will happen, 100 percent.”

But the question is when? Ngannou maintains that he does intend to return to MMA in the future, however, he also stated he intends to rematch Tyson Fury after the Joshua fight, and then, depending on how the Joshua fight goes, potentially rematch Joshua as well. That’s at least one more boxing match and possibly two, and if Ngannou wins any of those, even more opportunities open up for him inside the squared circle.

Even so, Davis steadfastly asserts that this is a good problems to have.

“I always like to say, what’s the worst-case scenario here?” Davis said. “My brother says, ‘I’m going to take you on the G5 to Cabo but I can’t do it until March 2025?’ Do you go, ‘Nah! I just want to take my own winnebago.’ No! You wait until February of 2025. Worst-case scenario, we have the biggest fight in MMA in February of 2025 with Francis. That’s our worst-case scenario? Sign me up! That we have the greatest fighter in the world? Sign me up for that. That he shocked boxing and he’s opening up PFL Africa for us? Sign me up for that.

“Everybody always likes to look at the bad stuff. They always talk about, ‘You don’t have any opponents for him.’ UFC doesn’t have any opponents for him! There’s only one guy in the world: Jon Jones. There’s only one opponent for Francis Ngannou: Jon Jones. … It’s Jon Jones or nobody. [Renan Ferreira] is a better fight than anything over there, but none of it is Jon Jones-Francis Ngannou. That’s a one of one, bespoke, custom, heavyweight fight. Francis is now in that league. He is above everything.”

And who knows? Davis suggests that with both PFL and UFC partnering with Saudi Arabia now, on top of their existing partnerships with ESPN, maybe the unthinkable can even happen and Francis Ngannou vs. Jon Jones can finally take place.

“To me, [it’s a good thing] when the biggest things in the world get bigger. Because that’s what’s happening. The biggest thing was Francis and Jon Jones. Then it got bigger, because Francis now is better, and Francis now is more exciting,” Davis said. “So the biggest thing got bigger. Sometimes, that puts so much pressure, the crucible busts, and it busts in such a way that great things happen. That’s how great companies get built, that’s how great Super Bowl teams get made. Things just bust. I just think in 2025, things could happen that we can’t imagine today.”

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