The fighting moniker of “The Baddest Man on the Planet” is up for grabs, with a number of MMA’s top heavyweight champions all laying claim to the accolade.
One man who wants to prove that he deserves that label is Francis Ngannou, and the new PFL signee has stated that he’s ready to face anyone to prove it. He even has it written into his contract that his opponent will receive at least $2 million to face him.
The big question is, who will face him?
That topic was discussed by the PFL Europe broadcast team of Sean O’Connell, Dan Hardy, and Stefan Struve during the broadcast of PFL Europe 2 in Berlin, Germany, with Hardy explaining the challenge Ngannou’s arrival in the PFL has laid down to the rest of the MMA world.
They also recapped the cageside meeting between Ngannou and current UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones, as the pair sized themselves up and exchanged respectful words in a conversation that got the whole of the MMA world talking.
“It was so fascinating, that back and forth,” said Hardy.
“You can see Jon Jones, he kept feeling him, he was like, ‘My goodness, this man’s huge!’
“But at the same time, the back and forth, they’re both supremely confident they can get the job done.”
The chances of a Jones vs. Ngannou fight seem remote, but other potential matchups could be available, including possible bouts with reigning Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader, or ONE heavyweight champ Anatoly Malykhin, both offering interesting options.
Hardy said that the arrival of Ngannou in the PFL, and the news that his next opponent would earn at least $2 million, represents a clear challenge to the world’s top MMA promotions to prove that their heavyweight champion is the real deal.
“About 70 percent of MMA fans are still leaning towards Jon Jones. But, for me, the PFL has thrown the gauntlet on the table,” said Hardy.
“If you’ve got a heavyweight champion that you think can hang with Francis Ngannou, then bring him over.
“Whether it’s Jon Jones, whether it’s Ryan Bader, whether it’s Anatoly Malykhin. I don’t care what promotion you’re from. Bring them here. The money is on the table.
“If you can walk out of the cage of your own accord after Francis Ngannou has hit you, you deserve that money in your pocket.”