Coach provides timeline for Francis Ngannou’s UFC return, expects ‘The Predator’ to face Jon Jones or Stipe Miocic in 2023

By Josh Evanoff - September 1, 2022

UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou’s coach has given an update.

Francis Ngannou

‘The Predator’ has been out of action since his showdown with Ciryl Gane in January. In the main event of UFC 270, the champion had to go to wrestling to score a decisive victory. With that, Ngannou had his first title defense, but it didn’t come without a cost.

Following his title defense, the heavyweight champion revealed he fought with a damaged ACL and MCL. The injury has left Ngannou sidelined since his fight earlier this year. However, his coach has now given an update on his return.

Francis Ngannou’s coach, Eric Nicksick expects his pupil to return next year. The heavyweight champion has previously stated he could return in December. However, his coach believes that might be a bit optimistic.

In an interview with MMAFighting, the coach also gave his opinion on who the champion should face next. If it were up to Nicksick, Ngannou would fight Jon Jones in his return. ‘Bones’ is currently preparing for a showdown with Stipe Miocic, set to take place in the winter.

The belief is that the winner of that heavyweight clash would fight Francis Ngannou next. Nicksick is hoping that Jones is the victor, so he could fight ‘The Predator’ next.

Jon Jones, Heavyweight, UFC 282

“The fight that makes the most sense is obviously Jon Jones. That’s the fight we all want. The way I look at it is, Jon Jones has been out for two and a half years. If we can’t do it in December, and depending on the way the UFC schedule plays out, maybe [it can happen] in January or February, somewhere in that timeline.” (h/t MMAFighting)

“Jon hasn’t fought in so long, Stipe hasn’t fought since Francis beat him, so that will be two years for Stipe in March, so might as well wait another month for the super fight and the fight to make. Honestly, for me, I’d love the Stipe fight again, or the Jones fight, but if I had my choice between the two, obviously I want to compete against the best to ever do it, in my opinion, and that’s Jon Jones.”

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Francis Ngannou Jon Jones Stipe Miocic UFC