Of all the people waiting to find out what Francis Ngannou’s next move is going to be, Curtis Blaydes is among a small group with a vested interest.
Blaydes knocked out Chris Daukaus at UFC Columbus this Saturday. Ngannou could be a benefit to his title chances if he doesn’t sign a contract and moves on with another venture. His two losses to Ngannou make it seem unlikely that he will stay with UFC.
But there’s another factor Blaydes considers when he looks at Ngannou’s situation, and that ties directly into the dreams of most fighters: get your money and get out. And the way “Razor” sees it, one option stands out among all others.
“If he’s me, I’m just going box,” Blaydes stated Monday on The MMA Hour . He would be able to make much more money than [Anthony] Joshua , Tyson and Deontay [Wilder].. He would be rich. If I were him, I would allow my knee to heal and then get ready for .”
Ngannou currently is on the mend after knee surgery to repair damage he suffered in training for a title unifier against now-former interim champ Ciryl Gane at UFC 270. UFC President Dana White expressed his confidence that the champ would resign but Ngannou, who is a possible free agent at the end of the year, remains in unknown territory.
Boxing has been a lifelong dream for Ngannou, who originally strapped on the gloves with the intention of stepping into the squared circle. Although MMA proved to be the more lucrative path to success, Ngannou insists that the UFC offer a special deal for boxing. The promotion famously co-promoted with Floyd Mayweather and Showtime for the “Money Fight” featuring ex-champ Conor McGregor.
Ngannou’s situation has already drawn increased interest from the current undisputed heavyweight champ, Fury, who’s regularly sparred with his UFC counterpart on social media. Fury’s promoter said that a cross-over bout would prove to be hugely beneficial for both parties.
While most boxing professionals have dismissed Ngannou’s prospects against Fury’s talent, Blaydes remains optimistic about Ngannou’s potential to succeed in the ring.
“Based off the top boxers at heavyweight division I’ve watched, I think he does well,” Blaydes said. “I think he has the reach. He has both the explosiveness and athleticism that we know. With those gloves, he may not have the same impact, but I think he can beat any of those guys.”
Blaydes has made pay, or lack thereof, a central issue in his UFC tenure, and he can’t fault Ngannou for seeking the biggest one. He said that leveraging the fame of an accomplished octagon runner is not only good business but also a valuable blueprint.
” “It is always nice to know there are other sides to MMA because you cannot fight forever and at the end you just want your money,” he stated. “That’s always going to be a good avenue. If you’re doing up your name and brand in the UFC and MMA, you have the opportunity to transition over into the boxing world, and you can make a lot of money at the end of your career.”