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Ngannou to face winner of Bader-Ferreira in PFL debut

Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Despite taking the boxing world by storm, Francis Ngannou isn't leaving mixed martial arts behind.

The PFL announced Thursday that Ngannou will make his return to MMA to face the winner of Saturday's fight between Ryan Bader and Renan Ferreira, which headlines the PFL vs. Bellator event in Saudi Arabia.

Ngannou is scheduled to take on Anthony Joshua in a boxing fight on March 8 after almost pulling off an all-time upset against heavyweight champion Tyson Fury last October.

The former UFC star sent Fury to the canvas with a left hook in the third round but ultimately lost the 10-round bout via split decision.

"It is my intention to return to (MMA), when exactly I don't know. It all depends on March 8," Ngannou said on "SportsCenter."

Ngannou added that he wants to "dominate" both MMA and boxing.

Landing Ngannou was a massive coup by the PFL after he left the UFC amid a fractured relationship with the promotion. But with Ngannou reaching new levels of stardom and financial success in boxing, there had been speculation that he might not return to MMA despite his deal with the PFL.

The former UFC heavyweight champion boasts a career MMA record of 17-3, including 12 knockout victories. He hasn't stepped inside the cage since beating Ciryl Gane in January 2022.

The 40-year-old Bader holds the Bellator heavyweight title and previously owned the promotion's light heavyweight belt. He's currently riding a three-fight win streak, most recently earning a TKO win over the legendary Fedor Emelianenko in February 2023.

Meanwhile, Ferreira won the PFL heavyweight championship last November with a second-round TKO of Denis Goltsov in his third attempt in the promotion's season format. He has a career mark of 12-3.

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