Ngannou returned to action following a relatively long layoff earlier this year at UFC 270. In the January 22 headliner, “The Predator” shared the Octagon with then-interim titleholder Ciryl Gane. Ngannou adapted well midway through the fight, utilizing an improved wrestling game to earn the nod on the judges’ scorecards.
Unfortunately for the Cameroonian, another lengthy period on the sidelines was certain after the fight. Weeks before the unification showdown, Ngannou suffered a grade 3 MCL tear and a damaged ACL, for which he underwent surgery to repair last month.
Now, with his recovery well underway, Ngannou has provided an update on a potential return date. During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, the heavyweight kingpin revealed that the process is going smoothly so far and that he’s no longer using crutches.
With that in mind, Ngannou suggested he could be ready to return as soon as November this year. However, with his desire to fully heal and avoid re-agitating the injury, he pinpointed December as the more likely month.
“Potentially in November, but more likely in December,” revealed Ngannou. “Because in December, I will be in the full cap of nine months recovery. Even if my recovery seems to be faster, I still want to give myself more time not to give any chance to re-injure that same knee.”
Unsurprisingly, Ngannou is expecting his return to mark the arrival of a much-talked-about crossover clash.
Ngannou Confident Next Fight Will Be Versus Fury
Ahead of his most recent Octagon outing and during the period where coverage of his dispute with the UFC was perhaps at its most prevalent, talk of Ngannou’s boxing ambitions rose to the surface.
What started as a mention of WBC and The Ring Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury has since progressed to a back-and-forth on social media and even an in-person meeting at Wembley Stadium after the Englishman’s victory over Dillian Whyte this past weekend.
According to Ngannou, a boxing bout with Fury is non-negotiable when it comes to agreeing to a new deal with the UFC. With that in mind, Ngannou told Helwani he’s extremely confident that “The Gypsy King” will be his next opponent, and even more certain that he’ll be Fury’s.
“Yeah, I will say there’s a 70% chance that it’ll be against Tyson Fury,” suggested Ngannou. “On his side, I will even say 90%.”
With Ngannou set to be out of contract with the UFC at the end of this year, Fury has previously suggested a Las Vegas meeting in the first quarter of 2023 is likely. Should Dana White and his promotion have a change of heart when it comes to an involvement in the potential fight, perhaps it could happen even sooner.
Would you like to see Francis Ngannou return from injury straight into a fight with Tyson Fury?