The notion of a UFC heavyweight champion entering the boxing ring to make some real money has always been a contentious one.
In 2023, that could become a reality as Francis Ngannou prepares to ditch his UFC title and fight one of the top names in the sport.
Opinion, as always, is divided on how Ngannou will do outside the octagon and potentially using the Queensberry Rules. However, only history can tell us what will be in store.
Mixed Martial Artists have never been able to cope when swapping fingerless gloves for ten ounces. You only have to ask Conor McGregor about that.
Francis Ngannou targets boxing stars
But there is money that can be made simply off a name. Ngannou doesn’t really have that either, certainly not with boxing fans. That’s why he’s targeting the big guns.
In his most recent social media campaign to bag a massive check, Ngannou revealed a shortlist of three. From that post, it’s evident Ngannou is only interested in money.
Oleksandr Usyk, the man who holds three of the four heavyweight belts, is not mentioned. Those on the list are the three highest-profile heavyweights in the world.
Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua made the cut, further evidence that Ngannou is writing checks his ability cannot cash.
The Nigerian is punching way above his weight and booking a one-way ticket to a knockout loss.
Former cruiserweight world champion and heavyweight campaigner Tony Bellew agrees with that notion.
“His [Francis Ngannou’s] power will be a serious problem! His energy levels in a boxing ring will be something to see!
“However, his lack of technique and experience will see him probably get hurt. I feel for him. I really do!
“He’ll do better than any boxer trying MMA, though, I’ll say that much,” said Bellew.
Ngannou is attempting to make a fast buck, nothing more. Therefore, any promoters should be aware of this and call any future fights for what they are.
If “The Predator” was serious about a boxing career or making any dent in the division, he’d begin with a ranking fight before earning his place.
That’s not what this exercise is about, though. It’s more about the lack of pay afforded to UFC stars by Dana White’s company than anything else.
If White gave his fighters the power to make massive money on his platform, there’d be no need to switch codes. Ngannou could defend his title without the need to punch above his weight.
In addition, the fears are real over Ngannou if any of the trio he’s targeted go into a fight with bad intentions. Francis Ngannou will be KO’d, and it won’t be pretty.
Maybe they will take it easy on him or ensure the rules work in his favor.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of experienced boxing writer Phil Jay. Twitter @PhilJWBN. Furthermore, follow WBN: Facebook, Insta, and Twitter.