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Francis Ngannou to undergo knee surgery, recovery likely in ‘9 to 10 months’

UFC 270: Ngannou v Gane Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Francis Ngannou is expected to undergo knee surgery to repair damage done prior to his win over Ciryl Gane this past weekend.

His manager Marquel Martin confirmed the plans when speaking to MMA Fighting with the surgery likely happening after the UFC heavyweight champion returns from a planned trip to his home country of Cameroon. ESPN first reported the news.

“He’s going to have to get surgery likely in March,” Martin said. “Then the timeline can vary, obviously, but probably looking at 9 to 10 months [recovery time].”

According to Martin, the surgery will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who is a well-known orthopedic surgeon while also serving as the lead physician for teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Rams.

Dr. ElAttrache has worked with several high profile UFC fighters in the past as well including when he performed ACL surgery on both Georges St-Pierre and Conor McGregor. Now, he will handle Ngannou once he returns to the United States later this year following a trip home to see family and friends in Cameroon.

Martin added that the surgery will repair damage done to the ACL but Ngannou didn’t completely blow out that ligament so he’s not undergoing a full ACL reconstruction.

“His MCL is completely gone but that can heal on its own,” Martin added. “So likely he’s going to repair the ACL and then if there is other damage that needs to be repaired like the MCL or anything else, he’ll fix that up.”

Ngannou revealed the severity of the injury after earning a unanimous decision over Gane at UFC 270 while also stating that he would likely have to undergo surgery.

Of course, Ngannou’s surgery comes at a time when the UFC heavyweight champion is locked in a battle with the promotion over his contract. Ngannou’s win over Gane was actually the last fight on his current deal and he has previously stated that even with a champion’s clause in the contract, he should become a free agent by December.

Ngannou could still potentially come to terms with the UFC, although past negotiations have failed to lead to a new deal being struck between the fighter and the promotion. Most recently, Ngannou said that he left around $7 million on the table when declining the UFC’s latest offer as he continues to seek new terms that would allow him more freedom with his career.

Most notably, Ngannou has talked about pursuing a potential boxing match against reigning heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.

It remains to be seen if Ngannou will eventually strike a deal with the UFC or wait out his current deal to pursue free agency, but for now, he’ll focus on his trip home to Cameroon before returning to have surgery on his knee.