Ngannou's (16-3) future in the UFC has been a major topic in the industry over the last couple of weeks. The current "baddest man on the planet" is set to defend his heavyweight crown against interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0) in three weeks at UFC 270. However, he only has one fight left on his current UFC deal, and negotiations between "The Predator's" handlers and the organization has hit a stalemate with no new discussions in months.
Despite UFC President Dana White and Ngannou's manager Marquel Martin having an ongoing public beef, the 35-year-old didn't seem too worried about the contract dispute in a recent conversation with ">TMZ Sports. Especially, when the idea of competing in boxing came up during the discussion. That's because Ngannou plans on dabbling in the sweet science professionally at some point and expects the chance to do so will be a part of his next contract with the MMA world leader.
Francis Ngannou says boxing 'has to be' a part of his next UFC contract
"It has always been [a plan for] down the line," Ngannou said about competing in boxing. "It's something I'm not taking my eyes off of. It's gonna happen either way. And even when the UFC and I finally finalize the deal, the boxing part has to be into it because I can't see myself retire without boxing."
Many star talents in the UFC have wanted to compete in boxing -- or against MMA stars in other promotions -- over the last two decades while under contract to the Las Vegas-based organization. However, Conor McGregor, and the opportunity to earn tens of millions of dollars in a fight with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., has been the only instance where the UFC allowed one of its fighters to compete outside the Octagon in boxing. Making Ngannou's expectations seem unrealistic given his employer's decades-long track record.
Ngannou thinks 'delivery system' would be key in boxing bouts against Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder
Realistic or not, the only fights that would make the UFC even ponder the idea of letting one of their biggest heavyweight stars compete in boxing would be a matchup with one of that sport's top talents. Namely resident heavyweight king Tyson Fury, or his popular rival Deontay Wilder. Both fights are bouts the Cameroonian goliath has an interest in, and he believes with the otherworldly power he has in his hands, he would actually have a chance against those men. As long as he deploys the right "delivery system."
"Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, I would like to test myself [against] their level," said Ngannou. "You know, it's not the same sport but I'm a champion. I'm at the top of this division. At the end of the day it's just about throwing hands, throwing punches, having a good delivery system. Throwing those bombs, and I'm sure if I deliver my own punches pretty good I can make some damage."
Ngannou is on a five-fight win streak with all of his wins -- including a March 2021 title fight victory -- coming by knockout. He will defend his newly won championship against Gane on Jan. 22 on pay-per-view inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Ngannou is unlikely to beat Fury or Wilder in a boxing fight, so the question is, does he make it to a decision with those boxing titans?