Just moments after saying he was planning to retire, Tyson Fury revealed his desire for a cross-code fight with the UFC’s scariest man.
Boxing star Tyson Fury teased a blockbuster showdown with UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou just moments after suggesting he could retire.
The Sunreports the UFC’s first African-born heavyweight champion was ringside for Fury’s successful defence of his WBC strap against Dillian Whyte on Sunday, flooring his rival with a brutal uppercut in the sixth round.
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Ngannou made his way into the ring moments after the fight, further teasing a transition into boxing, and he and Fury quickly began talking up a showdown during a joint interview with ESPN.
“He’s in great shape. Look at the muscles on him,” Fury said. “He’s a good looking chappy, isn’t he?
“This is going to be one very special fight like never before seen in the history of our sport.
“It’s going to be an explosive fight when it happens.”
Ngannou added: “We’re going to find out who is the baddest motherf***er on the planet.
“We’ll fight with different types of rules … mix it up.”
Fury’s immature sense of humour came out in that interview with a below-the-belt remark as he asked the UFC star if he had a “big Corey”, confusing Ngannou, who clearly wasn’t up to speed with the Gypsy King’s slang.
Ngannou is embroiled in a contract dispute with the UFC and has turned down a bumper new deal from the MMA promotion.
The Cameroonian-born Frenchman, whose contract with UFC expires in December, wants the freedom to box in addition to a pay rise.
Ngannou is set to miss the remainder of the year after going under the knife last month to have a knee reconstruction and he’s confident a fight with Fury will materialise next year, telling BT Sport: “Definitely sometime next year — 2023, that fight will happen.
“Because by the end of the year, to know exactly (where I stand), we’re going to sort it and get settled and ready to go.”
“Tyson Fury vs Francis Ngannou in Africa, that would be the best one. The Rumble in the Jungle 2!”
Fury’s American promoter Bob Arum is confident of making the crossover clash.
He told boxing reporter Lance Pugmire: “I don’t know what this guy’s contract situation is with the UFC.
“Obviously, it’s a massive fight and it should be easy to make since both Tyson and (Ngannou) are with ESPN.”
Talk of a crossover bout comes despite Fury saying before his clash with Whyte he would walk away after Sunday’s fight.
“You know, I promised my lovely wife Paris of 14 years that after the Wilder 3 fight that’d be it,” Fury said after the victory. “I meant it.
“This might be the final curtain for the Gypsy King.”
However, in a post-fight press conference, Fury suggested an exhibition fight against Ngannou was on his radar.
“Big Francis Ngannou was here today. He’s on my hit-list in an exhibition fight,” Fury said. “However he wants. In a cage, in a boxing ring, boxing gloves, UFC gloves. We can make it happen.
“He’s a monster of a guy, I’m a monster of a guy so it’ll be a clash of the titans for sure.”
Social media went into meltdown at the prospect of the two heavyweights coming together.
Respected MMA journalist Ariel Helwani tweeted: “Holy c**p. Francis Ngannou is in the ring … what a moment.
“Fury and Ngannou were talking like it was absolutely happening. Wow. That was wild stuff.
“That was kinda surreal. The UFC heavyweight champ, who is on the verge of free agency, in the ring with the boxing heavyweight champion … and they are both in there talking like this is gonna happen. Not one tugging on the other’s coattails. Mutual respect and admiration. Wild.”
Fury, 33, retained his WBC strap with a brutal sixth-round KO of former sparring partner Whyte.
A picture-perfect uppercut from the former unified heavyweight champion brought the curtain down on a historic night at London’s Wembley Stadium.
“Dillian Whyte is a warrior,” Fury said after the fight.
“I believe Dillian will be a world champion. I am one of the greatest heavyweights of all time and unfortunately for Dillian Whyte, he had to face me tonight.
“He is as strong as a bull and a heart of the lion but you are not messing with a mediocre heavyweight.”
This story first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission