Tyson Fury offers unique boxing challenge to UFC champ Ngannou

Tyson Fury, of England, fights Deontay Wilder, not pictured, during a WBC heavyweight championship boxing match Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Las Vegas. (Isaac Brekken/AP)

It would appear budding rivalries between boxing stars and mixed martial arts fighters is a trend determined to stick around for a while.

Undefeated WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury took to Twitter Thursday to issue an interesting challenge to Francis Ngannou, one that caught the UFC heavyweight kingpin’s attention.

Ngannou concluded the exchange with a tweet that read: “After I handle business on Jan. 22 I'll fight you under any special rule set you want. In a ring, an octagon or a phone booth.”

The UFC knockout artist is scheduled to defend his belt in a unification bout against interim champ Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 later this month.

Ngannou's upcoming fight is the final one on his UFC contract, however it’s not a straightforward pending free agent situation. If he beats Gane and retains his title then a champion’s clause would see the UFC automatically retain his rights. If he lost to Gane then he could negotiate with other promotions while the UFC maintained a right to match a potential offer.

There would seemingly be much less appeal to a Fury-Ngannou experiment if Ngannou was coming off a loss. Plus, if he stayed UFC champion then it would presumably decrease the likelihood of that superfight occurring – especially considering there would be a potential MMA superfight with Jon Jones or a trilogy match with Stipe Miocic the UFC could consider marketing.

A hypothetical Fury vs. Ngannou clash is nothing more than a fun thought experiment, for now, however you can’t completely dismiss it from being within the realm of possibility.

The Batie, Cameroon native spoke to TMZ Sports in late December and mentioned he hopes to include some type of boxing clause when it comes time to renegotiate his UFC contract, adding he sees boxing as being part of his future and wants to one day test himself against the Furys and Deontay Wilders of the world.

Although co-promotion is extremely rare for the UFC, remember that back in 2017 UFC president Dana White helped facilitate the spectacle and box office smash hit that was Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor.

Boxing whilst wearing standard UFC four-ounce gloves compared to competing in 10-ounce boxing gloves would be an interesting challenge, but one Fury would welcome under the right circumstances. The Gypsy King even has bareknuckle boxing in his lineage. Bareknuckle style would be somewhat comparable to boxing in open-finger UFC gloves.

Here is a 2019 clip of Fury talking about the evolution of boxing where he also mentions MMA as being a relatively new branch on the combat sports tree.

The 35-year-old Ngannou is six-foot-four and typically weighs in just above 260 pounds compared to the 33-year-old Fury, who tips the scales at more than 270 pounds and stands six-foot-nine.

Fury’s next boxing opponent is expected to be against interim WBC interim titleholder Dillian Whyte, although nothing has been finalized.

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