Kenny Florian: PFL’s best heavyweights ‘can hang’ with Francis Ngannou if signed
Francis Ngannou would have his hands full with the top tier of PFL’s heavyweight division, says analyst Kenny Florian.
Florian, a former multi-time UFC title challenger, finalist on Season 1 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and current PFL commentator, is hopeful the promotion that employs him will come out on top in the sweepstakes to sign Ngannou (17-3) now that he’s a free agent.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou recently parted ways with the UFC after hitting a dead end in contract negotiations, and his services are now available for bidding. PFL already has expressed interest, and if the organization manages to strike a deal, Florian thinks it would be a game-changing move.
“I think signing Francis Ngannou would be massive – not only for the PFL, but for the sport,” Florian told MMA Junkie. “It’s going to get fighters to scratch their heads and go, ‘Hmm, maybe I could go over there.’ I think it would allow the PFL to get a ton of respect and eventually get even more great fighters.”
It remains to be seen which direction Ngannou goes in free agency. He’ll likely have his pick of the litter if he chooses to compete in MMA, but the majority of his attention currently appears fixated on crossing over into the world of boxing, or at minimum competing against a top-ranked boxer such as Tyson Fury in some form of combat.
Florian understands why Ngannou is pursuing a Fury fight, but even if he gets it, that doesn’t mean his MMA run is over. There could be great opportunity for “The Predator” with PFL’s Super Fight division on pay-per-view that reportedly will give fighters a 50 percent share of revenue, and Florian is confident at least a couple of current PFL heavyweights could give Ngannou a competitive fight.
“I think, especially with him coming off knee surgery and potentially doing this big boxing fight with Tyson Fury that they’ve been talking about, I think putting him in the Super Fight division would make the most amount of sense,” Florian said. “Him fighting whoever ends up being the champion for the PFL I think would be really intriguing. As far as the heavyweight division, we may not have the same depth as the UFC in the heavyweight division, but I think the top three or four guys in the PFL, I think they can hang with a lot of the top three or four guys in the UFC, no question about it.
“I think a lot of our heavyweights, whether we’re talking about Ante Delija, Bruno Cappelozza – we have a ton of talent in the PFL in the heavyweight division, and I think there’s a lot of intriguing matchups and potential for them against Francis Ngannou.”