Francis Ngannou’s days as an MMA fighter aren’t over yet.
The former UFC heavyweight champion and PFL fighter was in London on Monday for a press conference to promote his upcoming boxing match with Anthony Joshua, which takes place March 8. Following the presser, Ngannou spoke to DAZN and declared that he still plans to return to MMA competition sometime in the future.
“It’s a combination,” Ngannou said when asked to choose between MMA and boxing. “I’m a guy who fights, I mean, I don’t really like to get hit, but I like to hit people. Anytime when there’s some good person to hit in a big fight, ring me up, I will come and try to hit and not get hit. That’s what matters.
“At this point, I’m not done with MMA. I can tell you that I’m not done with MMA, because I still believe that there’s still some great fights out there that I can still offer fans. My MMA fans were my base, who also helped me to get to this position, so I’m still thinking about how to work with that community.”
Ngannou has not fought in MMA since successfully defending the UFC heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane in January 2022. What followed was a 12-month stretch of inactivity that ended with he and the UFC unable to come to terms on a new contract. He then relinquished the title, becoming a free agent, and later signed with the PFL as both an executive (including being named chairman of the PFL Africa project) and a fighter, though he has yet to fight for the league.
In Ngannou’s absence, Jon Jones defeated Gane for a vacant title at UFC 285. Ngannou and Jones have publicly discussed fighting each other for years, and they continued to snipe at each other following Ngannou’s departure from the promotion. Despite their history and the magnitude of that potential matchup, Ngannou still favors a rematch against undefeated heavyweight boxing star Tyson Fury, who Ngannou lost a narrow split decision to this past October.
“Rematch against Fury,” Ngannou said when asked if he’d rather fight Jones or Fury. “Rematch against Fury, because I have a taste of unfinished business. I wasn’t mad after the decision, but I still have this feeling of injustice. When you feel something wasn’t right, wasn’t just, I still have that feeling. I won the fight. I believe that I won the fight. … That doesn’t matter at this point, but still I have that feeling and I really think I can do better.”