In recent months, there have been rumors of a clash between UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. This whole conversation came as Ngannou is set to defend his title against Ciryl Gane on January 22 at UFC 270.
So how would Ngannou, a powerful puncher, fare in the boxing world?
Former coach Fernand Lopez, who has been involved in a bitter rivalry with Ngannou since the latter left the MMA Factory, gave his take on Ngannou’s interest in being a star of two-way combat sports.
While Ngannou showed an interest in boxing when he was younger, he has not stepped on a ring. The move may make sense to some extent, but López believes that Ngannou’s inexperience would cost him.
“I think the fight makes sense for Francis because he thinks he can cash out,” Lopez said. “It would take Francis Ngannou at least three years to be competitive from a boxing point of view with Tyson Fury, and I mean three years just dedicated to boxing. I’m not sure Francis can challenge Tyson Fury’s stamina or stamina. All you can do is have a high defense; be elusive, close the footwork, change direction ”.
“Realistically, I would have to drop everything else and probably do nothing else for three years, just box. No fighting, nothing more. The way his body and muscles are built won’t allow him to keep throwing punches after the third round. … I don’t see how he can win the game, this is an opportunity for him to get paid ”.
Ngannou started boxing at 22 and at 26, he wanted to pursue a career in it. While in Paris, he met López, who convinced him to join the world of MMA. From 2013 to 2018, Ngannou was a member of the MMA Factory and knocked out his opponents with ease. He joined the UFC in 2015 and won six in a row, but lost to Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight title in January 2018. He left MMA Factory for Xtreme Couture and since November 2018 has won five in a row, including the heavyweight of UFC. title in March.
Fury (31-0-1) has been boxing professionally since 2008 and has been competing since around 2006. The linear champion won the gold medal at the 2008 English National Championship. The “Gypsy King” beat Deontay Wilder in 2020. to win the WBC heavyweight title and earned around $ 54 million in 2021. Aside from Lopez, Ngannou has had a showdown with the UFC regarding his contract. A possible fight with Jon Jones was ruled out over money, and the 35-year-old Ngannou is looking for the best deal for him, especially as a champion. Lopez believes that the amount of money he can earn will be depleted with a move to boxing, along with the years of skills it would take to learn how to step on the ring.
“I’m not sure if you’re a UFC fighter, it’s worth giving it all up and having three years of constant boxing training. How would you live your life, what would your income be? And after three years, he can be competitive enough to stand there and keep throwing punches, ”Lopez said.
“We do not expect anything brilliant, Francis is not a boxer. You train a lot to be a boxer. Boxing needs dedication, boxing needs sacrifice, you need years and years to train. So we know the outcome of that fight. The question is how much money can Francis Ngannou make, because he only gets one shot. Objectively speaking, he cannot think of having a boxing career because his boxing ability will not be enough for him to become a boxer. “
Ngannou and Lopez have been fighting since the fighter left MMA Factory. Part of the reason is that Ngannou believes Lopez wanted to be the center of attention on him, which has resulted in Lopez questioning his ability. Another factor is the combat footage of Ngannou and Gane that the former believes were shared to make him look bad.
Ngannou will face a former Gane teammate inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. That is the last fight on his current contract with the UFC. Could conversations about a Fury fight along with contract disputes be a distraction before the title fight? According to López, the stakes are high for Ngannou heading into the fight.
“Francis Ngannou wants to go boxing, but that can only happen if he is the champion,” Lopez said. “If you leave the UFC and you’re not the champion, no matter what company you want to go to, it won’t seem right. We have to take that into account ”.
Citations from this article first appeared in the Betway USA Blog