Demetrious Johnson doubles down on Anthony Joshua beating Francis Ngannou in MMA: ‘It’s not like Francis is some world-class kickboxer’

Demetrious Johnson stands by his Francis Ngannou take.

In March, Ngannou was brutally knocked out by Anthony Joshua in their heavyweight boxing match billed as “Knockout Chaos.” The fight was so uncompetitive that just a few days later, Johnson claimed Joshua would beat Ngannou in an MMA fight.

As you can imagine, “Mighty Mouse” caught a lot or crap for that take, but one month later, he stands by it.

“It’s not like Francis is some world-class kickboxer,” Johnson said recently on The MMA Hour. “You look at all Francis fights, he does have some submission wins, he does have some where he takes somebody down.

“But if I can take a guy like Anthony Joshua, who is an athletic specimen, who understands range and distance, and I train him for six months — six months — to defend a takedown, check the leg kick, and just box. You’re not going to have 16-ounce gloves. The distance doesn’t change at all. … So if I can take somebody who is athletic, which, Anthony Joshua is athletic, it’s an easy fight.”

Johnson — the former UFC flyweight champion and one of the greatest fighters of all-time — argues the issue for Ngannou is one of styles. If Joshua was to fight a different heavyweight in MMA, things would not go as smoothly.

“Now, here’s the flip side: How would it go against Anthony Joshua vs. Jon Jones? Different animal,” Johnson said. “Jon Jones would go out there and force the clinch. He would go out there and force the wrestling exchange. Maybe Francis Ngannou would do that, but I don’t think Francis would do that. From the years I’ve seen him fight, that’s how I view that fight. I’m not saying Francis is going to get destroyed, but I do believe [Joshua] has a chance of beating him, because he just knocked him the f*ck out in a boxing match!”

“Francis has been very successful in the boxing world in MMA,” Johnson continued. “He boxes people. When he beat Stipe Miocic, yes he threw some leg kicks. That’s very easy to manage. It’s not like an Edson Barboza leg kick. But him and Stipe were going back and forth. Stipe actually rocked him.

“I would go on to say Anthony Joshua is a better boxer than Stipe Miocic. Not a better MMA guy, but in mixed martial arts, I say it all the time: MMA is the easiest sport to become a world champion in. It truly is. you have people who are very good at one thing and have so many holes and deficiencies in their game.”

Fans will probably never know for certain, as it’s unlikely that Joshua will ever compete in MMA. But there’s one man who sort of agrees with him: Ngannou’s head coach Eric Nicksick.

Nicksick agreed with many of Johnson’s points, noting that based off of the Joshua boxing match, they would have to be particular about approaching an MMA fight.

“There were things I think we needed to do better,” Nicksick said. “So if this was an MMA fight, what did we see anecdotally that would have changed that same outcome if it was in MMA? We would have gotten slept, whether it was four-ounce gloves or not.

“So it tells me we have to show the element of level change, we have to kick the lead leg out, we have to do other things to keep the distance, cut the cage off, and then blast-double that motherf*cker and put him on his back. Then it’s in our realm. So what [Johnson is] saying is absolutely true.”

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