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At UFC 270, Francis Ngannou successfully defended his heavyweight throne against former sparring partner Ciryl Gane, stealing his undefeated record in the process. Battling back from adversity he turned to his wrestling to get the job done, controlling his opponent on the mat for a fair portion of the final three rounds. With no clear contender deserving of a crack at the champion, one fight is on the radar of many.
Prior to his first title defence, Ngannou, who had one fight left on his deal, called out current heavyweight Boxing champion Tyson Fury. Though competing in different sports, the Cameroonian has spoken openly about testing his skills in the ring, believing now is the perfect time to do so.
The opportunity of a career-high payday partnered with new levels of exposure, it’s obvious why Ngannou is chasing the fight.
In an interview with DAZN, he described the matchup as inevitable.
“I think that fight will happen. I think Tyson Fury wants that fight to happen too, so it will inevitably happen at some point.”
“I can’t say specifically when, but I’m sure it will happen. We’re both willing to make that fight happen.”
Although interest from Fury’s side was initially expected to be slim, the WBC champ revealed his interest through a tweet on January 6.
“Who would like to see me fight this beast [in] boxing rules [in] UFC gloves?” Fury wrote.
The social media post generated thousands of hits, with fans exclaiming their excitement at the possible crossover bout.
With both fighters on board, it all comes down to the promoters. Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, would rather his man take a larger piece of the revenue as well as having the bout broadcasted on a network such as BT Sport. UFC President Dana White on the other hand would prefer to see Ngannou compete on ESPN, with whom he presently holds a deal with.
While its expected that a future fight between the two would feature MMA gloves, it’s unclear as to if it’d take place inside the Octagon. Fury has previously hinted at the possibility of him stepping in the cage, making this the most likely possibility.
It’s worth noting that Fury may be ordered to fight a mandatory challenger first. Or, if talks go in the right direction, WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Per sportsbook Cloudbet, the odds see Fury as the clear favorite against Ngannou, should the fight take place. These odds are terrific; it’s not every day we witness a crossover event between mixed martial arts and boxing icons.
If held under a specific ruleset such as boxing rules with MMA gloves, the odds will be tighter, though Tyson Fury will likely open as the favorite.