Deontay Wilder could face Francis Ngannou in a hybrid-rules fight next year, according to Professional Fighters League [PFL] Chairman Donn Davis.
On Monday, the Saudi-backed PFL announced its acquisition of rival MMA promotion Bellator in a landmark deal following 11 months of intense negotiations and rumours.
Later that same day, Davis revealed exactly what the merger meant for his company, MMA as a whole and the former UFC heavyweight champion whom he signed in May.
In an ideal world, Wilder will welcome him to the PFL Smart Cage even though he’s never trained in MMA and hopes to book a mega-money boxing match with Anthony Joshua if he beats Joseph Parker on December 23.
“We don’t know, other than he will fight with PFL in 2024,” Davis told The MMA Hour when asked for an update on Ngannou’s promotional debut.
“We don’t know if it’s the first or last quarter. I still think it will be a mixed-rules fight, and I still think Deontay Wilder is the most likely opponent.
“That would be unbelievable! I think the second and third options are much less compelling, so we don’t want to force them options in order to get into Q1.
“We’re listening to Francis and he’s sequencing his options. He has a great boxing option and this great crossover option.
“What works for him in 2024, what works for the opponents, and putting it together – that’s what we are working with him on right now.”
Davis made these comments just weeks after Wilder expressed an interest in crossing over to MMA and caught the attention of UFC CEO Dana White in the process.
Ngannou’s next fight may be in the boxing ring, but he’s still firmly tied to PFL and made that much clearer by quickly reacting to their groundbreaking deal with Bellator.
He tweeted: “Game changers.
“Congratulations on a game-changing announcement in the MMA space. The opportunities for PFL & Bellator athletes under this banner are endless.”
Although both men seem interested, only time will tell if Davis gets his wish and fight fans get to see Ngannou and Wilder clash under the PFL banner.