Reigning UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou will be sidelined for quite a bit of time in 2022. Ngannou’s manager Marquel Martin revealed to ESPN on Wednesday that the champion will undergo surgery to repair injuries to both his MCL and ACL.
Prior to his UFC 270 title fight against interim champion Ciryl Gane, Francis Ngannou suffered a completely torn MCL and damage to his ACL during training sessions before the title fight. Although doctors told Ngannou that he could face “irreversible damage” to his knee if he stayed in the fight and competed, which he did, and won a five-round unanimous decision against Gane to secure the first title defense of his career.
Martin would go on to tell ESPN that the plan is for the champion to visit his native home of Cameroon and once he returns, then he will undergo surgery to fix his damaged knee. The recovery timeframe that was given by Francis Ngannou’s team was of around 9 to 10 months once the surgery has been completed.
It is a unique situation for Francis Ngannou as he entered the fight at UFC 270 on the final fight of his contract and was involved in a very public dispute regarding his future. Making it known that he would not fight for the UFC under his most recent contract structure, Ngannou also has been very open about his desire to compete in professional boxing as well as inside the UFC Octagon. Martin would release a statement to ESPN saying he hopes that during Ngannou’s recovery time, there can be a peaceful resolution between them and the UFC.
“Upon his return, we plan on getting surgery and starting the recovery process so we can get him back to 100 percent as soon as possible. In the meantime, we hope we can find a peaceful resolution in these contract talks. We’d like to thank all the fans for their continued support and belief in Francis.”-Marquel Martin to ESPN
UFC President Dana White did not wrap the belt around Francis Ngannou following his title defense at UFC 270 and he also did not attend the post-fight press conference, leading to more speculation about the differences he and the UFC have with Ngannou. Although the champion will be exclusive to the UFC for another year due to a champion’s clause in his contract, the promotion will likely need to put plans in place in order to keep the top of the heavyweight division moving.
Mike Pendleton is a current contributor to MyMMANews while also hosting his “On The Mic” podcast and is a former Associate Producer at Sirius XM’s Fight Nation.
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