MMA fans, we have a target date for Francis Ngannou‘s Octagon return … with the UFC’s heavyweight champ telling TMZ Sports he expects to be back by early 2023, at the latest!
Of course, Francis last fought in January … when he beat interim champ, undefeated fighter Ciryl Gane to unify the belts.
In March, about 6 weeks after the unanimous decision win, Ngannou was forced to undergo surgery to repair serious damage to his knee, including ACL reconstruction and MCL repair, which were sustained before and during the fight.
So, when we ran into the 35-year-old star outside Avra in Beverly Hills, we asked Francis how his knee was feeling.
“It’s getting better,” Ngannou told us, adding, “It’s been only 3 months, so yeah, I’m still doing physical therapy.”
Now for the question on the mind of all Ngannou fans … when will you fight??
“If everything goes well I’ll be ready by the end of the year because it’s gonna be 9 months. So, let’s say late December or early next year.”
As for Francis’ preferred opponent … he opted not to call anyone out.
“You know, as for now let’s fight for the situation and get everything squared up, and then when I will be close to the return, we will see where the landscape is at ’cause a lot of things can happen.”