UFC Heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou, would not be defending his title this year as, according to his head coach, his comeback is likely to be around the first few months of 2023.
Ngannou, who defeated Ciryl Gane back in January at UFC 270, has been out due to a knee injury, and he had to have a surgery for that. But it looks like he is not yet ready to step into the octagon again, at least not anytime this year. This was revealed by his head coach, Eric Nicksick.
There were rumours that Ngannou could make a comeback this December, but Nicksick has said that it could take longer than that. Speaking with MMA Fighting, he also said that the fight that Ngannou could take next would be against Jon Jones, as he appears to be the best option.
He said: “The fight that makes the most sense is obviously Jon Jones. That’s the fight we all want. The way I look at it is, Jon Jones has been out for two and a half years. If we can’t do it in December and depending on the way the UFC schedule plays out, maybe [it can happen] in January or February, somewhere in that timeline.
He continued, explaining why Jones is the best man for the comeback fight: “Jon hasn’t fought in so long, Stipe [Miocic] hasn’t fought since Francis beat him, so that will be two years for Stipe in March, so might as well wait another month for the super fight and the fight to make.”
Ngannou’s comeback is going to be a huge topic in the coming months. As the heavyweight title holder, there is a line of people waiting to snatch the title from him, so whoever he faces would have to come from that line just to maintain that order. For now, it seems all muddled up, and it remains to be seen how it would all be sorted out. But it all depends on when Ngannou decides to return.
Written by: Leon Osamor