It looks like Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury is the fight we’re most likely to see next from the former UFC heavyweight champion.
Ngannou spent the majority of 2022 on the sidelines after fighting (and beating) Ciryl Gane with a blown out knee. Despite having all that time to come to a new deal with the UFC, “The Predator” chose to walk away from the promotion so he can have his freedom … and a big money superfight with Tyson Fury.
Fury invited Ngannou into the ring following his win over Dillian Whyte in April 2022, where the two discussed their mutual desire to compete against each other. That talk dried up in the coming months — perhaps due to a call from the UFC’s lawyers reminding them what ‘tortuous interference’ means. Now that Ngannou is a full free agent, though, the talks have returned and Ngannou hopes to set the bout up for this summer.
“Yes, I’ve talked to somebody, some of [Tyson Fury’s] advisors,” Ngannou said in an interview with TMZ Sports. “But they’re working on a fight with 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.”
“So I have no problem with that timeline that I’m expecting I hope will be sometime in June, July, which is doable. 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 at, that we’re looking into it.”
Complicating things is the very real chance Oleksandr Usyk could beat Tyson Fury when they fight in April. Usyk holds the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight world titles and is coming off back to back wins over Anthony Joshua. He’s definitely the toughest opponent Fury has faced since returning to the sport in 2018. If Usyk beats Fury, a rematch would undoubtedly take precedent over a Ngannou fight. Hell, if Usyk vs. Fury is just competitive or extremely entertaining, a rematch could take precedent no matter who wins.
While Tyson Fury is clearly the opponent Ngannou wants, Francis added that he was also interested in fighting Anthony Joshua.
“This [Fury] fight, we’ve been talking about this fight in the past two years, a little over two years. So I think at this point the people are waiting for this fight and talking about this fight more than the Joshua fight,” Ngannou said. “Although the Joshua fight is still a massive fight, both fights would be in the same magnitude of a fight. But we are kind of advanced in the willing to fight together with Tyson Fury, and it looks like that’s the way to go. And maybe Joshua would be another option.”
Ngannou also revealed the career advice he got from Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently signed a record setting deal with Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr football club.
“He told me that the Saudi is the future,” Ngannou said. “A lot of people doesn’t understand now, but they are changing really fast, it’s moving really fast. And personally, that was my feeling when I came there. That was my first time going to Saudi, and I was literally … I didn’t really know how to cover myself, how to behave myself until I came there and find out that everything is cool. It was just like normal life. And now I’m like ‘Well, this was not like the idea I had on Saudi. So it was pretty cool.”
So, Maniacs … what’s your over/under on Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou going down in Saudi Arabia sometime in 2023?