Francis Ngannou has sent a message to Tyson Fury ahead of their potential heavyweight crossover in 2023, with the UFC champion warning the Gypsy King not to enter an MMA octagon with him or he “will get killed”.
Fury had somewhat confirmed that he was planning to fight UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou next year at Raiders Stadium. The two have been back and forth over the past few months, and both have made it clear that they want to fight.
No fights will take place in 2022 – with Ngannou currently under contract with the UFC, although his contract has officially expired, and currently in rehab after major knee surgery which is expected to keep him out until nine months. After defeating heavyweight sensation Ciryl Gane in January, Ngannou has triggered a champion clause in his current contract, which means he remains on the roster and under contract until he relinquishes the belt.
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And with an ongoing contract dispute with the UFC, the Cameroonian is now set to be out for the rest of the year with his knee injury, before facing Fury in 2023. Fury has spoken, on several occasions, of wanting to fight Ngannou even publicly challenged him to a boxing-MMA crossover bout.
But Ngannou warned him against it, saying Fury entering his world would be a huge mistake. He said: “I don’t care what it will be, I just think it would be a fight against Tyson Fury. It might be in a phone booth or wherever, but that fight will happen.
“Obviously he wouldn’t come to MMA, he would get killed. Basically, in the heavyweight division, if you see people going into the octagon or the ring that weigh around 270 pounds, everybody can knock anyone out, that’s a fact. Also, it’s not easy to knock someone out, it’s not easy to find someone and land on them cleanly, so it could also moving towards a decision. We’ve seen that a bit over time, so that’s also possible.
Fury will first fight Dillian Whyte, before declaring his intention to retire from boxing after his fight on April 23. But Fury still has his sights set on Ngannou and has confirmed he plans to fight the UFC star in 2023.
He told iFL TV: “I’m going to fight Francis Ngannou in Las Vegas next year – in March or February. There have been no talks this year because I have boxing to do. But the “Next year we can have some crazy fights. It’s a massive fight – I believe it breaks all pay-per-view records in the United States. Two heavyweight champions go head-to-head.”
Talk to TMZ of the move to heavyweight boxing, Ngannou said, “It has always been; it’s something that I can’t take my eyes off. This will [to] happen anyway. Even if I stay… If, or when, the UFC and I reach an agreement, the boxing part must be part of it. I can’t see myself retiring without boxing.
“I would like to test myself at their level. It’s not the same sport, but I’m the champion, so I’m at the top of this division. At the end of the day, it’s just about throwing hands, of throwing punches, having a good delivery system to throw those bombs in. I’m sure if I deliver my own punches well enough, I can [do] some damage.”