MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani, has revealed his certainty that Francis Ngannou will complete a move to boxing in the near future, and that he would be ‘shocked’ if his next competitive fight is not inside of a boxing ring.
Ngannou was the UFC heavyweight champion until January 14th, but has since failed to agree a new contract with the MMA promotion. This made the Cameroonian the first reigning champion to leave the UFC since BJ Penn in 2004, however the UFC’s most fearsome knockout artist has a clear route back into combat sports.
In an interview with Boxing Social, Ariel Helwani confirmed that Ngannou’s switch from the UFC to boxing is ‘100%’ on the cards.
“Oh yes, 100%. Francis always wanted to be a boxer, first, that was his original dream when he left Cameroon and went to France. The dream for him was to become a boxer and he was training at a boxing gym, it was just that someone at the gym said to him, ‘You could be a good MMA fighter, you should try out this MMA thing’. He didn’t even know what MMA was. So that has always been the itch, that he hasn’t been able to address and now he is a free man, and he is able to address it.”
“He is aiming for the moon, he is aiming for Tyson Fury or ‘AJ’ and it just so happens that Eddie Hearn knows AJ pretty damn well, and he can make that fight happen. So it is very smart, that Francis is talking to the likes of Eddie Hearn, I know he is also talking to other people and he should talk to other people. At this point, unless an MMA promotion comes in with a massive deal, I would be shocked if the next time we see Francis Ngannou compete, it is not in boxing.”
With Ngannou recognised as the ‘Deontay Wilder’ of the UFC scene, boasting sixteen first or second round stoppages in his seventeen wins, even the elite heavyweights would be wise to not overlook him.
However, there has never really been a successful switch from MMA to the upper-echelon of boxing. Therefore heavyweights such as Derek Chisora, Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury have confidently called Ngannou out and would be the heavy favourite if a fight did materialise.