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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Matthew Wells and Mike Bohn

2023 PFL heavyweight champion Renan Ferreira makes case for Francis Ngannou debut fight

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Renan Ferreira wants to be the man standing across the cage from Francis Ngannou when he makes his PFL debut in 2024.

At 2023 PFL Championship, Ferreira (12-4) won the heavyweight title with a second-round TKO of Denis Goltsov. Now that he has gold around his waist and the $1 million prize that came along with it, the 6-foot-8 Brazilian heavyweight wants to be the first to fight former UFC champion Francis Ngannou under the PFL banner.

“For me, this fight makes sense because I’m the best heavyweight in the world, and I’m the right guy to welcome him to the PFL,” Ferreira told MMA Junkie through an interpreter.

Ngannou has many options to choose from in his PFL MMA debut following a close split decision loss to WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in his professional boxing debut. Ferreira would be an opponent of similar height to that of Fury, who stands at 6-foot-9, although their athleticism and body types are different.

“Promblema” vs. “The Predator” has a nice ring to it for Ferreira, who expects the potential matchup against Ngannou to be spectacular.

“This is going to be a crash between two strong trucks,” Ferreria said. “We have aggressive skills, and I’m very excited for this fight.”

If Ferreira doesn’t get the fight against Ngannou, he may find himself fighting another champion in Bellator’s heavyweight king Ryan Bader. Since purchasing Bellator, the PFL has begun teasing a big event pitting the two promotion’s champions against each other sometime in 2024.

Ferreira isn’t opposed to fighting Bader, but it’s not his first choice.

“I prefer to face off against Francis, but I’m a good employee of the organization,” Ferreira said. “I can fight against Bellator’s champion, and I’ll be ready for that.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for 2023 PFL Championship.

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