Morning Report: Joe Rogan: Francis Ngannou is ‘only way that PFL’s gonna get people to pay attention’


Francis Ngannou hasn’t fought in MMA since his first and only UFC heavyweight title defense in January 2022.

Man, Ngannou’s unanimous decision victory over Ciryl Gane really feels like five years ago at least. The departure of “The Predator” from the UFC roster truly threw the heavyweight division into such a cataclysmic spiral that it’s yet to recover from. The sad part is that it probably won’t be until next year.

Regardless of Ngannou’s MMA absence, the UFC moved on with Tom Aspinall and Jon Jones and he’s made waves by signing with the PFL and beginning his pro boxing career. Two matches later, Ngannou has yet to officially earn wins against his two pound-for-pound great opponents Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. The former UFC champion’s name value is arguably higher than ever despite the results. For PFL as a company, Ngannou might be its only saving grace, according to longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

“If the UFC went away, the PFL would probably take up the slack,” Rogan said on the Joe Rogan Experience. “If something happened, the UFC decided, ‘You know what, we’ve found Jesus. No more fights. Good luck. Take care. We’re gonna close shop.’ For some crazy reason. Those guys would go somewhere. Everyone has a name.

“Right now, the only way an organization could benefit — like PFL signed Francis. That’s probably the only way that PFL’s gonna get people to pay attention. You have to have someone like Francis.”

Whether you believe the PFL is the “co-leader” in MMA or not, it’s undeniably become one of the sport’s biggest promotions after absorbing Bellator late last year. The roster additions have given PFL a strong roster with plenty of exciting matchups still yet to be made. One of those is the expected pairing of Ngannou against 2023 PFL heavyweight champion Renan Ferreira.

“La Problema” knocked out reigning Bellator champion Ryan Bader in just 21 seconds in February to earn the Ngannou welcoming honors. That’s assuming he does indeed fight in MMA again.

Rogan likes the thought of the Ferreira bout but ultimately expects boxing to remain a fixture for Ngannou going forward.

“There’s this wild Brazilian dude over there who’s f*cking dangerous,” Rogan said of Ferreira. “That guy’s f*cking dangerous. He’s huge and he can strike. That’s the only guy [Ngannou can fight].

“Maybe if the PFL gets some heat behind it because of this, maybe if they have the money, I know there are some other countries that are involved like the Saudis, and they start throwing money away. Maybe.

“Yeah [he’ll go back to boxing],” he concluded. “He’s made so much money, but after the Joshua fight, it’s going to be different.”


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