Francis Ngannou knows he’ll be an underdog to Tyson Fury when they meet in the boxing ring on Oct. 28, but the roles would be reversed in a massive way if the rematch ever happened in MMA.
Of course, Fury disagrees.
During a pre-fight press conference for the event on Thursday, Fury touted himself as a “fighting world champion” just like Ngannou, which drew a response from the former UFC heavyweight king.
“World champion in boxing,” Ngannou said back to Fury. “Because in fighting, I think you are very limited in general. Bro, you’re very limited.”
Back-and-forth verbal exchanges between the fighters were mostly cordial throughout the entire press conference – until Ngannou stoked the flames about a potential MMA fight.
That led to a Fury rant where he claimed he would not only beat Ngannou in boxing but the same exact thing would happen if they ever met in the cage.
“I think I could beat you in a cage,” Fury shouted. “I would kick your ass in a cage, no problem. I’ll beat you in a boxing ring and then I’ll kick your ass in a cage. 100 percent.
“I’ll beat you at boxing, and I’ll beat you in a cage. No problem. I’ll beat him at boxing and I’ll beat him at a cage fight, no two ways about it.”
A smile crept across Ngannou’s face as he looked back across the table at Fury while issuing a warning about actually pursuing an MMA fight with him in the future.
“You can’t even think about that,” Ngannou said. “Focus on boxing for right now.”
When it came to the boxing match, Fury did address the biggest weapon that Ngannou has in his arsenal, which Joe Rogan called his “nuclear option” with devastating knockout power.
During his UFC career, Ngannou routinely dispatched opponents with a single shot, including arguably his most memorable finish when he snapped Alistair Overeem’s head back in violent fashion with an uppercut.
Fury acknowledged Ngannou’s ability to knockout anybody if he connects, but “The Gypsy King” was also quick to remind him that he’s faced some of the biggest power-punchers in boxing — including three fights against Deontay Wilder — and lived to tell about it.
“I’m bulletproof,” Fury said. “So many people have tried knocking me out before or beating me and I’ve been successful for 15 years in a row, 34 contests and two-time undefeated champion. I’ve heard it all before. All the bulls*** that fighters like to say, I’m going to do this, do that.
“Listen good luck to him in his training camp, good luck to him and his trainers and Mike Tyson and his other trainer [Eric Nicksick], I met him in Vegas a few times, and that’s it. Bring your A-game, and let’s have a fight. Let’s have a f****** fight. That’s what we’re being paid to do. All this talking is what it is, but at the end of the day, we’re going to go in there and we’re going to fight.”
For his part, Ngannou promised he’s not solely focused on landing that single shot to put Fury away because that’s just setting himself up for disaster in a 12-round boxing match. That said, Ngannou guaranteed if he puts Fury down with his best punch, there will be no getting up again.
“If it does land? Goodnight. Lights off,” Ngannou said. “I mean what do you think will happen? Whether it’s a knockout or a decision doesn’t matter. The [victory] is what matters.”