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Look: Francis Ngannou Reveals When He Might Return From Injury

A closeup of Francis Ngannou in the ring.

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 20: Francis Ngannou enters the octagon for his fight against Stipe Miocic in their Heavyweight Championship fight during UFC 220 at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

UFC heavyweight champion Francis "The Predator" Ngannou has been out of action since his decision win over Ciryl Gane in January due to an injury. But it appears that he's on the mend and may be ready to fight again soon enough.

Speaking to TMZ Sports, Ngannou declared that he's confident he'll be back in The Octagon by early 2023 at the latest. But he said that he could be ready to fight as early as December.

"If everything goes well I'll be ready by the end of the year because it's gonna be 9 months (of recovery). So, let's say late December or early next year," Ngannou said.

Ngannou suffered severe injuries to his knee during the fight with Gane. He has since undergone ACL reconstruction and MCL repair.

Francis Ngannou has been a nigh unstoppable force in the UFC for the better part of seven years. He first joined the promotion in 2015, finishing six straight opponents before losing a title fight to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 in 2018.

After losing a second fight to Derrick Lewis in 2018, Ngannou went on a new winning streak, knocking out four straight opponents in the first round before earning a second shot at Miocic in 2021. 

This time, Ngannou got the better of Miocic, knocking him out in the second round to win the UFC heavyweight championship. It would be 10 months before he fought and beat Gane in his first title defense. 

Will Francis Ngannou return to being the dominant force he once was when he makes his comeback?