Three fighters the PFL should consider to be first for Francis Ngannou.
Seemingly, the controversy that surrounded the PFL looks to be in the rearview mirror after several fighters, including two former UFC stars Thiago Santos and Krzysztof Jotko, failed drug tests. All the talk for the PFL right now is about the blockbuster signing of the hottest free agent in mixed martial arts, Francis Ngannou.
The PFL’s heavyweight division is exciting and ever-growing with top talent, but Ngannou is a top star and a former rival company’s world champion. You know that the PFL will be on the phone looking for a marquee name to go against Ngannou for what will be a huge night for the company.
Here are three heavyweights that need to answer their phone if the PFL reaches out to them.
Werdum could be a perfect introduction fight for Ngannou to welcome him to the PFL. Sure, a grizzled veteran like Werdum might be frowned upon for Ngannou’s first fight in the promotion, but he is no stranger to playing spoiler in situations like this as he could steal all the shine from Ngannou’s debut like he did to Fedor Emelianenko in 2011. Werdum’s grappling skill set possesses a heavy threat if he can get in close and implement that game plan, avoiding any power shots.
Glory’s heavyweight king Verhoeven would be an interesting and exciting acquisition to headline against Ngannou. Money most likely will put this on dream fight status, but if you get enough fans interested and thinking about the matchup of these two very skilled strikers, fans might take social media by storm and demand it day and night. To make the fight between Verhoeven and Ngannou that much more exciting, the two even were sparring partners at one point when Ngannou brought Verhoevan into his camp to prepare for Ciryl Gane for UFC 270. A huge fight like this could even benefit both the PFL and Glory as both companies could potentially put on cross-promotion fight cards.
Now with many of the top elite heavyweights under contract with the UFC, it is hard to imagine a big name but maybe the PFL lures a former tournament winner away from Bellator and makes the call to Ali Isaev. Isaev is coming off of a draw against Steve Mowry, but he still has his sights set on making a run at the Bellator heavyweight title. A big name like Ngannou could sway Isaev to return to the company that once made him a millionaire to potentially do it again with a fight against Ngannou.
Every heavyweight in the world right now could be praying that they are the one selected to test the man who was gifted with TNT for fists. Who knows when the announcement for an opponent will be named, but we know that no matter who signs the dotted line to fight Ngannou first, their bank account will be unrecognizable with how many dollars they will earn.