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Ahead of schedule? Francis Ngannou’s coach gives update on UFC champ’s return

Coach Eric Nicksick gives an update on Francis Ngannou’s recovery and return.

Francis Ngannou poses for a portrait after his UFC 270 win over Ciryl Gane in January.
Francis Ngannou poses for a portrait after his UFC 270 win over Ciryl Gane in January.
Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is, at the very least, ‘on track’ with his recovery schedule. This bit of update came from his coach Eric Nicksick, who relayed the information to MMA Junkie Radio in a recent interview.

“I think he’s either ahead of schedule or on track, one or the other,” Nicksick said of his prized fighter. “And from what I’ve gathered (from UFC Performance Institute staff), he’s making great strides. He’s back in the gym moving around, hitting pads and stuff.”

The 35-year-old Ngannou underwent successful knee surgery in March for an injury he sustained during his UFC 270 camp in January. He expects to be back in action towards the latter part of the year, as well as a possible showdown with Tyson Fury sometime in early 2023.

Upon his return to the UFC, Ngannou already has potential challengers lined up for him. One of which is the winner of the September 3 showdown between former interim champion Ciryl Gane and Tai Tuivasa. There’s also the long-awaited heavyweight debut of ex-perennial champion Jon Jones, who’s been preparing to officially make the jump for the last two years.