'Everyone wants to see Francis get knocked out': UFC star expects 'more nasty highlights' from Ngannou at PFL
Francis Ngannou's last fought back in 2022, when he defended the heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270.
Francis Ngannou had some great news for his fans earlier this week as the former UFC star announced his next move having left the company earlier in January this year. In a joint statement released by Ngannou and Professional Fighters League (PFL), where the MMA star is headed next, the former UFC heavyweight champion confirmed that apart from making a return to the octagon, he will also serve as the chairman of PFL Africa.
Ngannou's last fought in 2022, when he defended the heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270, following which he was lined up against current champion Jon Jones at at UFC 285 in March.
However, after bit of a freefalling regarding his contract, Ngannou rejected UFC's deal to make him the highest paid fighter in the promotion. The heavyweight champion subsequently dropped his title and walked out of the company as a free agent.
Given the stellar record Ngannou holds, the Cameroonian-French MMA fighter was approached by multiple promotions, including Bellator, and ONE Championship, before he finally penned a multi-fight deal with the PFL.
Many active and former UFC stars have since shared their views on Ngannou's latest move. When asked the same to Angela Hill, who'll be headlining the UFC Fight Night against Mackenzie Dern on Sunday morning (as per IST), the strawweight fighter told hindustantimes.com: "I think it's great. I'm really happy for him. If you ever met Francis Ngannou, he's a gentle giant. He's so respectful and just so kind to everyone in the room, no matter who you are. So I think if anyone definitely deserves it, he doesn't have to be a jerk in order to get the type of fame that he has. And now he's somewhere where he's getting what he wants, which I think every fighter deserves.
“If you want your opponent to get paid a certain amount, he's able to do that with this fight and by accident I think it's more exciting to watch Francis Ngannou box. Everyone wants to see him get knocked out. So I think this is going to be a more exciting move for him, you're going to get a lot more nasty highlights and I can't wait to see it all flesh out.”
Game plan against Mackenzie Dern
Hill is the first black American female in UFC and has also tasted success in the Muay Thai discipline. She believes her kickboxing prowess sets her apart from other female MMA fighters and plans to use it as a lethal weapon against Dern. "That's always the first game plan, I feel the most comfortable there. I feel like there's a huge gap between me and most of the girls in MMA when it comes to kickboxing and with Mackenzie you can say the same about her grappling.
“So the smartest thing to do would be to keep it standing but I've been really grinding on my grappling. I've been really focusing on becoming a good jiu-jitsu player. I do feel like if it goes there I'd be able to surprise a lot of people including Mackenzie. But the first thing I'm going to try is punch in the face really hard,” said Dern.