UFC commentator Joe Rogan wants to see Francis Ngannou back in the octagon, but the can’t fault the ex-UFC champ for seeking a big payday in boxing.
Rogan expects Ngannou to take a boxing match and believes a bout with heavyweight boxing champ Tyson Fury is in the works. Rogan hopes that after Ngannou cashes in, he can return to the UFC to face the winner of Jon Jones vs. Ciryl Gane.
“The perfect world is, [Ngannou] goes over, has some big money, heavyweight boxing fight, Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane have a fight, Jon wins, Ciryl wins, whoever wins is the UFC champ, and then Francis comes back,” Rogan told fellow UFC commentator Paul Felder on his “JRE MMA” podcast.
“He can totally come back – Francis if you’re listening, sir, please don’t sign an exclusive contract.”
Jones and Gane meet in the pay-per-view headliner of UFC 285, which takes place March 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Jones originally campaigned for a fight against Ngannou, but his financial demands kicked off a feud with the UFC that led to him relinquishing the light heavyweight title. Jones bulked up in anticipation of a move to heavyweight but ultimately sat out for over two years. His new deal with the UFC came as Ngannou rejected the promotion’s offer to re-sign.
Now, Ngannou’s future remains a question mark. The longtime MMA heavyweight, 36, is fielding multiple offers as a free agent. On Wednesday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Matchroom Boxing exec Eddie Hearn revealed he is an informal suitor to Ngannou and pitched a showdown with ex-heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua.
Ngannou has already stepped in the ring opposite Fury, who engaged in some good-natured trash talk against his MMA counterpart after beating Dillian White this past April.
After outpointing Derek Chisora this past December, Fury recently called for a showdown with Ngannou – using four-ounce gloves in a cage with Mike Tyson as the referee. Ngannou subsequently told TMZ he was in touch with Fury’s team, who said the champ is lining up a title fight against champ Oleksandr Usyk for April.
Rogan doesn’t have a position on where Ngannou goes next. But he supports the ex-champ’s bid to make life-changing money.
“Who knows if someone comes along and offers him a ton of money,” Rogan said. “Look, I mean, if someone says, ‘Hey, I’ll give you $100 million,’ whatever you say. OK, what I gotta do fight, Jake Paul, what do I have to do? If they’re gonna offer him big money...but I think they’re trying to do a Tyson Fury fight.”
If he chooses Fury, the podcaster and UFC commentator doesn’t like Ngannou’s chances.
“Francis Ngannou could knock out any human being on earth if he can hit them clean on the chin,” Rogan said. “But good luck hitting Tyson Fury clean on the chin.”