Francis Ngannou is in pursuit of bigger and better opportunities post-UFC.
Interest in a fight between the former UFC heavyweight champion and the reigning heavyweight boxing king Tyson Fury has been boiling since mid-2022. MMA’s baddest man on the planet was on the mend from knee surgery all of last year, but he still made his intentions clear up until his eventual UFC release earlier this month.
Fury appears to still be interested in a match as well, it’s just a matter of figuring out the exact details. An idea for a straight-up boxing match has been kicked around less than some kind of variation, which has pundits like Chael Sonnen scratching their heads.
“I see Tyson Fury come out over the weekend and finally clear up first what we’re going to do first with Francis,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “They’ve always said they’re going to make up a sport. These two were going to do a game, but they were going to do something combat related. For reasons unknown, they weren’t going to box. Francis offered to box, and for reasons unknown, Tyson did not accept that invitation, and they were going to make up rules.
“Tyson finally laid out for us what they are. They were going to fight in a cage. I have no idea why. They’re going to fight in a cage. Okay, done. They’re going to wear four-once gloves. I have no idea why, but okay, fine. They are then going to follow boxing rules, the rules of Queensbury.”
Ngannou claimed to have turned down “around $8 million” to stay with the UFC, wanting more freedom with his overall opportunities. In boxing, the fighters at the highest level get paid handsomely and Ngannou could certainly join that mix when collaborating with someone like Fury.
“I put this out there because of how disappointing it is to see these boxers as beggars,” Sonnen said. “Guys that are hot to fight to go out there and get it on your own, that have physical capabilities that other men can only dream of. But they don’t know how to go out there and get it on their own. They just don’t know how. I bring it to you because to watch Tyson Fury beg, it was surprising. I don’t want to call it disappointing. It was really close to calling it that, but I don’t want to call it that. So Tyson comes to us with perhaps the dumbest idea in sports history. He knows it is.”
A matchup between Ngannou and Fury would be “The Predator’s” debut as a professional boxer. The undefeated Fury (33-0-1) last fought in Dec. 2022, earning a third career win over Derek Chisora. Ngannou, on the other hand, last fought to a unanimous decision win over Cyryl Gane in Jan. 2022.
As far as the public knows, no real traction has been made toward a potential fight between Fury and Ngannou, but Ngannou hinted when last speaking on The MMA Hour that he’s working on something for the summer. Fury is the one with all the “real” boxing options at present, looking at possibly boxing Oleksandr Usyk in the near future.
“To watch a guy in that position that could command, that has the connections, that should’ve done this behind the scenes, should’ve been able to come out and make an announcement, instead lobby a joke to the world with pieces — it was just weird,” Sonnen said.
“Are you guys going to do it or not? If you’re going to do it, why do it in a cage? Why do it with four-once gloves? Why are you calling Boxing Queensbury? Why don’t we make this real simple? Tell me that. Because then we’d have to do it. That’s why. We make it complex, so we can get out of doing it.”
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RIZIN Confession #114.
PFL free fights.
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Passion and persistence.
Twitter is great, I should’ve started this three fights ago ♀️
— Jasmine Jasudavicius (@JasJasudavicius) January 25, 2023
— Roxanne Modafferi (@Roxyfighter) January 24, 2023
Art of Aoki.
Guys! people in the UFC aren’t scared to fight you, they didn’t get to the @ufc by being scared..
— Tim Elliott (@TElliott125) January 25, 2023
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I don’t care for really any of these boxing-related shenanigans with MMA fighters. I’d probably watch this, though. The weirder, the better. I’m sure Jed would agree. Just have it in Fight Circus!
Thanks for reading!