There is a lot of excitement regarding Francis Ngannou's return to the octagon. The reigning UFC heavyweight champion fought the last bout on his contract last January at UFC 270, when he defeated Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision to retain his title.
Since his successful title defense against Gane, Ngannou has had knee surgery and has been sidelined for the recovery process. While speaking to MMA Fighting, his coach Eric Nicksick revealed the timeline for 'The Predator's return to the octagon will also depend on his contract, saying:
"Obviously they still haven't announced anything yet with [Francis Ngannou's] contract and where they're at, so 50-50 for me. I'm hoping for this thing, fingers crossed that we can get this deal done. If it's not March, maybe it's April or May, or something like that."
Nicksick added that there is also an opponent lined up, which will certainly interest UFC fans. 'The Predator's coach mentioned that the heavyweight would be ready should the promotion want him to fight Jon Jones in March, saying:
"I do know that they're shooting for March and that Jon Jones is the opponent. Everything else is out of my hands, but if they tell me, 'Hey, we're fighting March 4,' we'll have our guy ready, that's for sure."
Ngannou vs. Jones has been a fantasy matchup that fans have wanted to see for years, especially when the former light heavyweight champion was teasing a move to heavyweight. Now that 'Bones' has committed to the move and is ready to compete again, the fight could become a reality in the coming months.
Eric Nicksick believes Francis Ngannou is in a positive mindset amid comeback fight
Francis Ngannou has been out of action for a full year as a result of his injury, so his mentality was tested. His coach Eric Nicksick believes he has gotten back on track and things are looking positive.
While speaking with MMA Fighting, Nicksick noted that 'The Predator' has a positive mindset amid talk of his return to the octagon. He mentioned that the heavyweight champion has regained his love for the sport again, saying:
"I wanted him to have that feeling, that love again for the sport. Not any of the business stuff of it, just the love for the sport, the love for what we've built here at Xtreme Couture, getting better, building all of these new skill sets."
It will be interesting to see whether 'The Predator's return is made official for March or if he would rather take more time off and compete against the winner of a title-eliminator fight.