One of the biggest stories in MMA this year has been UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou’s flirtations with the world of professional boxing. Ngannou, who has fought through his UFC contract, could be a free agent after this year. “The Predator,” however, made clear that he must also be permitted to pursue boxing matches, specifically a fight with Tyson Fury, heavyweight champion.
And while many fans and UFC president Dana White believe the fight is “a waste of time, energy, and money,” heavyweight contender Tom Aspinall disagrees.
“Who doesn’t want to see that?” Aspinall said on The MMA Hour.
“I want to see it with MMA gloves, because I actually believe — usually I’m rooting for Tyson and of course I would be in this one, but if Francis hits with them little gloves, he is so dangerous. His style is very unconventional and I believe that Fury would lose to [Deontay] Wilder in boxing if he was so unusual. Francis is a good example of this. If you modify the rules and place Tyson in the smaller gloves, it might be a bit closer than some people think .”
While a Fury-Ngannou fight is not a sure thing at the moment, it seems that things are trending in this direction. Both men have explicitly stated that they want the fight and Fury even brought Ngannou into the ring to promote the future bout following his knockout of Dillian Whyte in April. Fury even suggested that they fight in MMA gloves to even out the playing field. While Aspinall does not believe this will make the fight fair, he believes it would be more entertaining.
“[Fury] could steamroll Francis but I’d give Francis a fair chance,” Aspinall stated. I wouldn’t be shocked either. Francis hit like a truck with his small gloves. Because it’s so different and unique with these small gloves, you never know what it will be like.
As No. 7-ranked heavyweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, Aspinall has some familiarity with Ngannou, and the England native is more than familiar with Fury, having spent some time training with Fury. Fury’s dad John Fury said that Aspinall will win the UFC title, and that he hopes to make his own transition into boxing one day.
For now though, Aspinall has MMA to focus on. Aspinall will be the UFC’s headliner when he faces Curtis Blaydes in London on July 23..