UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has fueled fight fans’ enthusiasm by insisting he expects a hybrid fight with Tyson Fury to take place next year.
WBC heavyweight champion Fury has claimed he will retire after his emphatic sixth round win on Dillian Whyte on Saturday night, but he quickly seemed to backtrack on that notion. When American broadcaster ESPN brought Ngannou into the ring after the fight, the duo appeared to verbally agree to a fight.
Fury told ESPN: “It’s going to be a very special fight. It’s going to be something never seen in the history of our sport. We’re not talking about two guys around 140 pounds, I’m 270 pounds, he’s 270 pounds. It’s going to be an explosive fight when it happens.”
This has led to some confusion over Fury’s next plans, with many disparaging his retirement talk. And now Ngannou has announced that the Gypsy King wants to keep fighting as he has hinted at a likely fight date.
“We both want this fight, that’s for sure, and we respect each other,” Ngannou said. MMA time Monday. “It will probably happen next year. I think it will happen, it’s just a matter of promotions, but we’ll sort it out at some point.”
And when the host asked if he could knock him out, Ngannou was in a confident mood: “I 100% believe I can knock him out. Like I said, it’s not easy, but it is possible.”
Ngannou last fought in January 2022, beating Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 by unanimous decision, but his future with the company is currently uncertain. He is currently on his way back from knee surgery and is unlikely to feature until December at the earliest – when his contract with the UFC ends.
That would leave Ngannou, who has said he wants to make it a hybrid fight, in a good position to negotiate a deal with Fury with no contractual restrictions on his way.
“The Tyson Fury fight needs to be part of the discussion [with the UFC] – there is no other option,” Ngannou said. “The UFC is a great promotion and I want to keep fighting. The Tyson Fury fight is not my last fight, there are still a lot of fights out there. There’s Jon Jones, there’s the Stipe Miocic trilogy, there’s big fights I can make in the UFC and I would really like that to happen.”
Ngannou added that there was a 70% chance that his next opponent would be the Gypsy King, while on the boxer’s side it would be 90%.