Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight king Francis Ngannou underwent successful knee surgery on Friday to repair a damaged ACL and MCL.
Ngannou, 35, suffered the injury during training for his heavyweight title defense against former training partner Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 this past January. “Predator” refused to pull out of the highly-anticipated grudge match and ended up fighting on the injured leg. Instead of his usual power-punching offense Ngannou opted to utilize wrestling and a strong top game to subdue Gane and walk away with a unanimous decision win.
Ngannou was expecting to go under the knife to repair his injured knee and will likely miss the remainder of 2022. The UFC heavyweight champion posted the following video and message to Instagram on Friday confirming his surgery was a smashing success:
“Knee surgery went very well today ( ACL reconstruction and MCL repair).
PS: no meniscus damage
Thank you to Dr Alattrache and staff for taking great care of me. Rehab time to get everything back to normal and get back on track.
Sincerely, THE KING”
Ngannou is expected to make a full recovery, but with the big man sidelined the promotion may decide to implement an interim UFC heavyweight title. That would allow fighters like Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic, Tai Tuivasa and even Gane to fight it out atop the division. Nothing is finalized as of now, but it’s certainly a possibility given Ngannou’s long shelf time.
In addition, Ngannou is not guaranteed to return to UFC after his recovery is complete. Remember, the UFC heavyweight champion has been wrapped up in contract disputes with the promotion for quite some time. If UFC doesn’t ante up and pay Ngannou the money he clearly deserves then “Predator” may end up taking his talents somewhere else.