UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou (17-3 MMA) has been seen back in training after his return to kicking.
Ngannou was last in action against Ciryl Gane (11-1 MMA) earlier this year at UFC 270 as he was able to retain the 265lbs strap via a unanimous decision victory back in January.
‘The Predator’ was able to come out on top despite suffering a significant knee injury in training 26 days prior to the event.
After the fight, the 36-year-old was forced into knee surgery aimed at reconstructing his ACL and MCL, which would see the champion side-lined for 9-12 months with plenty of time to settle his contract differences with the UFC.
Despite not being able to renegotiate a new deal with the promotion as of yet, Francis Ngannou is still preparing for his return to MMA action as he recently began kicking again.
Francis Ngannou returns to kicking training
Ngannou recently uploaded a video of him kicking on pads with Extreme Couture head coach Eric Nicksick, whilst still wearing a knee brace.
The Cameroonian captioned the video: “Slowly getting back into kicking, it feels damn good.”
Francis Nganoou’s first fight back has been already rumored to be one of the biggest fights in UFC history, as the UFC are wanting him to defend the belt against the proclaimed GOAT Jon Jones (26-1 MMA) in his heavyweight debut.
Francis Ngannou vs Jon Jones targeted for UFC 285 on Mar. 4 in LV. If Ngannou isn’t healthy by then, the UFC will target Jones vs Curtis Blaydes. pic.twitter.com/6ze7VjvxsK
— FullCombat (@FullCombat_) November 22, 2022
‘Bones’ previously relinquished his light heavyweight belt after his last fight against Dominick Reyes (12-4 MMA) at UFC 247 in 2020, as he announced his intention to move up a weight class and chase heavyweight gold, although has been out of action ever since.
John Jones is set to return at UFC 285 on March 5th next year in Las Vegas. However, the question is who will stand across from him.
Although no opponent has been confirmed it is the understanding that Ngannou is the number one option, however, it has been said if the champion is unable to return at 100% it will be top heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes (17-3 MMA) who will be asked to step up to the challenge.