Francis Ngannou is pursuing one of the most lucrative fights of his post-UFC career.
The former UFC heavyweight champion was released from his contract with the Endeavor-owned company after negotiations between him and the promotion fell through. The UFC waived its right to match any offers Ngannou receives—making him free and clear to start negotiating for other opportunities.
Though offers have come in for Ngannou, for the moment it seems he’s shifted his focus from mixed martial arts to boxing. A move that could well lead to the much-anticipated fight between Cameroonian-born Frenchman and heavyweight star Tyson Fury. According to the ‘Predator,’ he and his team have set the wheels in motion for that very fight.
“I’ve talked to somebody, some of his advisors,” said Ngannou in a recent interview with TMZ Sports. “They’re working on a fight with [Oleksandr] Usyk in April. So, until then, he will not be free. But I’m just trying to see if we can have an agreement before that fight.
“That will also give me some time to get prepared for a boxing fight,” continued Ngannou. “So I have no problem with the timeline that I’m expecting, that I hope will be sometime in like June, July, which is doable. So let’s see. I think it’s too early to make a conclusion. It’s too early to say anything about it but it’s definitely something that we’re looking into.”
As details get sorted for Fury vs. Usyk, the ‘Gypsy King’ has continued to express interest in Ngannou as his next opponent. Recently, the heavyweight champion proposed a hybrid fight with Ngannou ‘in a cage, [with] four-ounce gloves under Queensbury rules’.
Whether that type of fight—or a more traditional boxing match—happens remains to be seen, but Ngannou is hoping to come to terms with Fury in the near future. If not, then the 36-year-old says he will pursue the other option he has on his list of potential opponents.
“We’ve been talking about this fight the past two years,” said Ngannou. “A little over two years. I think at this point, the people are waiting for this fight and talking about this fight more than the [Anthony] Joshua fight, although the Joshua fight is still a massive fight. I would say both fights would be in the same magnitude of a fight, but we are kind of advanced and willing to fight with Tyson Fury, and it looks like that’s the way to go. Then maybe Joshua will be another option.”
In MMA, Ngannou is on a six-fight win streak, including his title-unifying effort against Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 last January.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)
About the author