There’s a lot of talk about who Francis Ngannou should fight next, but his own coach Eric Nicksick has his heart set on a fight that many believe can’t happen – the long awaited MMA showdown between ‘The Predator’ and UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Of course this is the fight that the UFC tried in vain to put together for a long time before their failure to match Ngannou’s contract demands led to him vacating his title and leaving the promotion, then shocking the world by almost beating heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in a money-spinning boxing match on Saturday night.
It’s widely believed that the Ngannou vs. Jones fight is now dead in the water as the UFC are notorious for refusing to co-promote with other companies, but Nicksick believes that a fight of this magnitude warrants the UFC swallowing their pride and coming to an agreement with the PFL, who currently have the star under contract.
“You can make that happen,” Nicksick said on The MMA Hour show. “Both sides can make that happen if they really wanted to. Set your egos aside , let’s get Allegiant Stadium [in Las Vegas], let’s give what the fans want and let’s get Jon and Francis and let’s see who the baddest man on the planet is.
“I want to compete against the best. I’ve said that time and time again. It’s no disrespect to Jon. I think he’s the best to ever do it, but I want that opportunity to coach against him and I want that opportunity to go beat the guy.”
“…Everybody wins at the end of the day,” Nicksick added later. “Everybody wins. The fans win. The fighters win. The promoters win. Possibly even the UFC because look at this way, Francis obviously is kind of making them eat their words. He walked away for free and he’s going out and doing his thing. At the end of the day, that’s what we wanted. We wanted to box and do it under the Zuffa banner and co-promote. I think anything’s possible.”
Despite Nicksick’s plea it doesn’t sound as if that’s a direction Ngannou’s representatives are pursuing next.
In fact, on yesterday’s MMA hour show Ngannou’s representative Marquel Martin revealed that his next fight “is probably 90% made,”, will happen in Q1 of next year and is likely to feature either a rematch with Tyson Fury, a boxing match with Anthony Joshua or an MMA fight with Deontay Wilder.
“Those are some of the options that we’ve been discussing for a long time,” Martin said. “I think what kind of emerged as of late was Anthony Joshua, right? We’ve had the conversations with Deontay. And obviously Tyson’s there, but now Joshua can be a potential suitor. Obviously, Eddie Hearn, I have a ton of respect for him as a promoter and he does a great job. He thinks that Anthony Joshua can can make light work of Francis, and it’s just — actually, the team, we were hoping before the Tyson Fury stuff ever came up came to be about, we’re hoping that we got a chance to fight Anthony Joshua.
“I personally that’s easy work for Francis. And I think Anthony Joshua didn’t really want that, but now, if he’s smart, and Eddie’s a smart guy, there is something to be said for Africa and those two, right? Knowing that AJ is Nigerian, I believe. You can make the case for Deontay Wilder, because stylistically, power for power, everyone wants to answer those questions. And I’ve been saying that publicly for quite a while. Francis, his power is unmatched by any human being on Earth. So you have that spectacle,” Martin continued.
“And then of course, I know Francis as a competitor, as an athlete, he’s going to want to prove to the world, ‘Not only did I beat [Fury] the first time, but I’ll beat him again even more convincingly if you guys ever [agree to it].’ So that’s the exciting part. So Francis is going to make his choice, he’s going to make that f*** you money that we talk about.”