Is Tyson Fury Vs. Francis Ngannou Really Happening?
While the channel is obviously called MMA Dive, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to poke our noses into other sports from time to time when the occasion calls for it.
And yea, obviously, don’t hold your breath on our NBA playoff takes or a deep dive into the lack of defensive prowess displayed by Harry Maguire this season - but given that the Gypsy King, the heavyweight champion of the world - Tyson Fury managed to secure a massive victory last weekend - we did feel compelled to jump in and give our opinion.
And though that fight and the masterful display turned in Fury are worthy of attention in their own right - the real reason we’re coming to you today with a video is because of the post-fight interview from Fury and the UFC heavyweight champion of the world Francis Ngannou.
So yea, I’m not going to spend too much time on the fight itself - but in a nutshell - Fury was able to pretty much nullify Dillian Whyte in 99% of the exchanges - keeping his countryman off of him with relative ease - removing weapons from his arsenal one by one before eventually finishing him with a swift uppercut in the sixth.
I had predicted a Fury victory - like many of you - but I really didn’t foresee him coming up against so little in the way of trouble from the elite heavyweight that stood before him.
So yea, it was a masterclass that showed the continuing evolution of Tyson Fury - a performance that once again put his status as the greatest in the world beyond any question.
Or at least, it did for most.
Oleksandr Usyk Crashes the Heavyweight Party
Obviously, the Oleksandr Usyk fight is the one test that most would agree we need an answer to - a bout that would bring together to the most talented fighters in the heavyweight division right now to give us a definitive statement on who the #1 is.
I mean, for me, Tyson is the #1 - but there is an asterisk beside it until he fights Usyk and brings all those belts together for one, winner-takes-all twelve round contest.
But anyway, as he defeated Whyte with that sixth round - something interesting happened.
The post-fight interview saw an invitation extended to the UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou - who was standing there in the ring alongside him - as Fury called on them to engage in a cross-promotional boxing/MMA hybrid super-fight - one that would serve as perhaps the biggest spectacle and payday of both of their careers.
The two had a cordial exchange in the ring there and then - and before he had left the ring, Tyson had retired from the sport of boxing - fulfilling a promise to his wife that, according to him, should have seen him bow out after the third Wilder fight.
But this dip into hybrid combat sports, it seems, won’t break his promise - and all of a sudden, the fighting world is full of discussions surrounding if this will happen, how and under what ruleset it might happen - and perhaps most importantly of all - who will win?
Well, obviously, there is a lot up in the air about all of these questions.
A Legal Curfuffle
For one thing, though the UFC are technically still in possession of their heavyweight king - he has no fights left on his contract, and will be a free agent come December.
On top of that, his very public issues with Dana White and the promotion’s treatment of him, their treatment of fighters in general - it makes any form of possible reconciliation less and less likely.
Ngannou’s position as the title-holder in the sport’s most famous and historically significant weight-class sees his growing reputation as an anti-establish figure hold that bit more significance.
And though his very appearance in the ring in a different sport, under a different promotion banner holds a lot of weight - if he ever did manage to pull off a fight with Fury - the precedent that would set - on top of the precedent he has already set - it would truly be something uniquely special.
It’s not like the UFC co-promoting alongside Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather so everyone can make a quick buck and bounce. This would be an undisputed champion, the heavyweight champion no less - deciding to take his career prospects into his own hands - speaking out against the UFC and forcing his way into a fight that would see him earn far more money than he ever could under Dana’s thumb.
And I think the sport needs that.
A Foregone Conclusion?
As far the bout itself and how competitive it might be, well, a lot will depend on the ruleset, obviously.
Early talks have suggested that Fury is willing to meet Ngannou in the middle - taking on a boxing matchup in the ring, but with 4oz MMA gloves.
Now, that, of course, introduces a very real element of danger for The Gypsy King - an element of unknowns that could give Ngannou something to work with here.
How will the clinch be organised under this ruleset?
Will it be similar enough to boxing that Francis won’t have the time to work in the way that he would inside the octagon.
But even in saying that, Tyson has shown himself to be incredibly skillful in that area - just look at the Dillian Whyte fight.
I think for now, we’ll know a lot more once this starts to pick up momentum.
But for me, the fact that it’s not a straight boxing matchup says a lot - gives the fight more of an even feel - although I would certainly back Tyson Fury to win quite heavily.
He’s just another level of technical - and even if his defense his somewhat compromised due to smaller gloves - it’s hard to know if the gulf in quality will be made small enough for Ngannou to capitalise.
That said, he does have earth shattering power and a granite chin.
And I think it would be wise not to underestimate just how much of an adjustment Fury would need to make in order to re-tool his skillset for a fight like this.
12oz gloves, obviously, open a lot of doors defensively that just aren’t a factor with MMA’s 4oz gloves.
And that for me, makes this infinitely more appealing than a regular 10 or 12 round boxing battle.
Again, I’d pick Tyson Fury under almost any circumstances that could be deemed fair for both fighters - but those 4oz gloves certainly make the idea of an Ngannou upset that bit more appealing.
But realistically - even looking at the Ciryl Gane fight - how thoroughly he dominated proceedings on the feet - even with his kicks in mind - it does give you an idea of how a skilled striker can freeze Francis Ngannou up.
But I’m not going to dwell on it too much for now.
Is it realistic? I would say, yes. It’s a rare chance to see the #1 heavyweight in the two biggest combat sports on the planet going head to head. And though I would prefer to see Fury take on Oleksandr Usyk - or the winner of his bout with Anthony Joshua - who knows, maybe we’ll be able to live in a world that gives us both.