UFC legend backs PFL to compete for MMA's top spot as Ngannou debut nears

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UFC legend backs PFL to compete for MMA
UFC legend backs PFL to compete for MMA's top spot as Ngannou debut nears

UFC legend Kenny Florian believes that PFL's big name signings of Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul could see the promotion compete for MMA's top spot.

The former featherweight title contender is one of the sport's leading analysts in his retirement, and has been commentating on fights for the American promotion for the last few years. And with a host of big names set to debut in the coming year as well as a new season format, he believes that they could be heading for the No.1 spot in the sport.

UFC was the only game in town for years, and the development of other competitors has done little to dampen their dominance over the combat sports landscape. But with Ngannou about to capture an entirely new boxing audience against Tyson Fury and the social media stardom of Paul as well as their high-level regular season and European rosters, big things are in store.

"I think it was the case before signing Jake and Francis," Florian said of the promotion's claim to the No.2 spot in the sport. "I think that we get used to what we're seeing and being first to the market like the UFC has for a decade now, well over that even, decades I should say, they're going to have a huge advantage.

"It's a first mover advantage and people have been watching the UFC for a long time and because of that of course along with the roster of over 600 fighters that they have they're going to be the biggest promotion. But for the PFL coming in second place, I think we've established ourselves as that. Look at the talent, the money behind it, Francis Ngannou coming over, how we're promoting."

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UFC legend backs PFL to compete for MMA's top spot as Ngannou debut nearsFrancis Ngannou will make his PFL debut next year after fighting Tyson Fury (AFP via Getty Images)

Do you believe the UFC could face new competition as the market expands? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Ngannou will first fight Fury in a boxing match this October, but has insisted that regardless of the result in that bout he will be stepping into the cage again early next year. He is contractually obligated to a rematch if he wins that bout, but will force Fury to wait until after he has had his PFL debut.

As for Paul, it remains to be seen whether or not he will follow through on his deal to fight next year in the cage after establishing himself as one of boxing's most divisive names. He faces Nate Diaz on Saturday night in Dallas, Texas, and has offered his opponent $10million to do the return bout inside the PFL smart cage.

"You can't doubt his testicular fortitude if he goes out and does something like that," Florian joked of Paul's offer. "These are all things that he doesn't have to do. The fact that he's going to go and say 'let me see how I would do against another pro mixed martial arts fighter in their realm, in their domain I think it shows that he's willing to put it on the line. Not a lot of people are."

Florian was speaking ahead of Friday night's PFL featherweight and light-heavyweight playoffs in San Antonio. Fans in the UK can watch live on DAZN from 11.30pm

Donagh Corby

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