‘UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou three years from Tyson Fury’
For a crossover fight with Tyson Fury, UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou needs three years of boxing training.
That’s the view of Fernand Lopez, the man who introduced Ngannou to MMA.
Lopez coached him and turned the Nigerian into a star before the pair got embroiled in a very public and acrimonious split in 2018.
Four years on, and Lopez doesn’t see Ngannou successful in the alternative code unless he knuckles down and leaves UFC behind.
“I think the fight makes sense for Francis because he believes he can cash out. There’s also something there for Tyson Fury.
“He doesn’t care that it’s not a competitive fight. He wants to make money and make some news,” Lopez told Betway US Blog.
“It would take at least three years for Francis Ngannou to be competitive from a boxing standpoint with Tyson Fury, and I mean three years only dedicated to boxing.
“Realistically, he would have to stop everything else and probably do nothing else for three years, only boxing.”
On Ngannou’s chances of damaging Fury in the boxing ring after a dominant run in the Octagon, Lopez added: “[It would have to be] No grappling, nothing else.
“The way that his body and muscles are built will not allow him to keep throwing punches after the third round.
“I’m not sure Francis can ever challenge the stamina or endurance of Tyson Fury. All he can do is have a high defense; be elusive, close footwork, change direction.
“But eventually Tyson will wear him down, get him tired, work the body and then go up with the uppercut, and sooner or later Francis will give up because of the volume, because of the pressure shots, and he will go down. I don’t see how he can win the match. This scenario is an opportunity for him to cash out.
“I’m not sure if you’re a UFC fighter. It’s worth letting it all go and having three years of steady boxing training. How would you live your life? What would be your income?
“And after three years, you may be competitive enough to stand there and keep throwing punches.
“We are not expecting anything brilliant. Francis is not a boxer. You train a lot to be a boxer. Boxing needs dedication. Boxing needs sacrifice. You need years and years to train. So we know the outcome of that fight.”
UFC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP
Concluding on the prospect of Ngannou dropping his hefty status with the UFC, Lopez stated: “The question is how much Francis Ngannou can make a lot of money because he only has one shot.
“Objectively speaking, he cannot think about having a boxing career because his boxing skill will not be enough for him to become a boxer.
“Francis Ngannou wants to move over to boxing, but that can only happen if he’s the champ. If he leaves the UFC and is not the heavyweight champion, it won’t look good no matter which company he wants to go to, and we have to keep that in mind.
“You can’t ask for a new contract with a clause that allows you to go boxing. It makes no sense. And you cannot impose this on the UFC now you are a big name just because you want to cash in – those are not the terms of the agreement.”
The quotes in this article first appeared on the Betway US blog.
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