Francis Ngannou’s head coach Eric Nicksick is hopeful the UFC can get the large combat between Ngannou and Jon Jones accomplished for the UFC heavyweight title, however there are nonetheless hurdles that should be cleared for that to occur.
From a number of reviews and conversations, the UFC is focusing on the combat to happen at UFC 285 on March 4 in Las Vegas. Ngannou is recovering from knee surgical procedure after struggling a torn ACL and MCL previous to his UFC 270 win over Ciryl Gane in January 2022, in addition to a public contract dispute with the UFC all through this previous 12 months.
When requested the place issues are at for the combat between Ngannou and Jones for UFC 285, Nicksick took his finest guess.
“I believe it’s 50-50, to be trustworthy with you, whenever you’re speaking enterprise and timeline,” Nicksick informed MMA Preventing. “I’m assured from what I noticed from Francis a few weeks in the past that if we needed to be prepared for March, I believe we will get him prepared, however I believe it’s reducing it a bit bit quick as a result of he had to return house and renew his visa.
“After which clearly they nonetheless haven’t introduced something but along with his contract and the place they’re at, so 50-50 for me. I’m hoping for this factor, fingers crossed that we will get this deal accomplished. If it’s not March, possibly it’s April or Could, or one thing like that. I do know that they’re taking pictures for March and that Jon Jones is the opponent. The whole lot else is out of my palms, but when they inform me, ‘Hey, we’re preventing March 4,’ we’ll have our man prepared, that’s for positive.”
To comply with up, Nicksick was requested, hypothetically, if he have been to guess on whether or not or not the combat will materialize and happen someday within the first half of 2023. Once more, Nicksick isn’t concerned within the enterprise aspect of Ngannou’s profession, however he’s feeling constructive about it.
“I’m a Vegas boy, so I’m all the time betting on the desk to win,” Nicksick stated. “I’m not a don’t cross line man, so put it on let’s make this factor occur. I’m optimistic we’ll get this factor accomplished.”
Ngannou is presently in his house nation of Cameroon the place he spent the vacation season, whereas additionally needing to get his visa renewed to return to Las Vegas and Xtreme Couture for no matter comes his method.
Previous to leaving to go again house, Nicksick labored with Ngannou within the gymnasium throughout a non-public session — one which left the top coach in an especially constructive place, not simply due to what he noticed from the UFC heavyweight champion bodily, however mentally as nicely.
“Earlier than he left man, we sparred on [that] Thursday earlier than he left, and I’ll inform you what: He regarded wonderful. Like, completely wonderful,” Nicksick defined.
“I used to be simply so glad and elated to see how his vitality felt when he was within the room and you could possibly see that the outdated Francis is again. I’m very optimistic about all the pieces, however the contract stuff, that’s all as much as Francis and the UFC. However I do know, so far as the talent set goes and what I’m seeing within the room, it’s very constructive proper now. I simply can’t wait to get him again in and get again to coaching.
“Clearly, we have been sort of on the mercy of the rehab course of, and we had a second the place it was simply me and him, and he got here in and hit some pads with me. We hit a few completely different combos, we might do that, we might do this, after which our vitality ranges — each of us — it was like two little children in a sweet retailer. He simply began bouncing and was like, ‘I’m again,’ and I used to be like, ‘Yeah, bro, you’re again.’ He stated, ‘I really feel good, it feels good to be again, I miss this s***.’
“That was the factor for me: I wished him to have that feeling, that love once more for the game. Not any of the enterprise stuff of it, simply the love for the game, the love for what we’ve constructed right here at Xtreme Couture, getting higher, constructing all of those new talent units. I would like him to come back again and really feel rejuvenated, able to get again to work, and that’s what I noticed from him that first day again. It simply gave me plenty of optimism.”