Hulking heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou sees potential in his future for a cross-over to the sport of boxing once he earns his first UFC championship belt.
That shot first came to Ngannou at UFC 220, where a masterful performance from then-champ Stipe Miocic saw him beat his heavily-hyped opponent down over five rounds on the way to his one-sided unanimous decision victory.
And for a time, the cracks that became apparent in the mental game of the Cameroonian were a massive cause for worry for those picking him for greatness but in the since, first-round knockouts of Curtis Blaydes and the legendary Cain Velasquez seem to have done enough to see him regain most of the momentum he had lost.
Speaking during a recent interview with Business Insider, Ngannou took a moment to reflect on the pair of losses that severely halted his progress through the heavyweight ranks.
“You always learn more about the loss than a win. I haven’t been in this sport for a very long time, so I had to learn before those two losses, and then after the defeats I saw a different aspect of this sport. I keep learning and adding technical and combative experience.”
“Everything is on point. I have no injury, I’ll just go in there and get the job done.”
With an eye on the intriguing landscape of boxing’s heavyweight division, Francis went on to cite Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, and Andy Ruiz Jr as fighters he would love to compete against.
“They’re good … great fighters who can all dominate.
“I’m a believer. I’m someone who believes things can happen. That’s why I’m here. Nobody thought I’d be here today fighting the top UFC fighters. I can fight those guys [in boxing].
“Before I even got to the UFC I used to spar Carlos Takam, going to his gym and sparring him. Everyone [in the gym] watched.
“My UFC contract doesn’t allow but when Conor did it, his UFC contract didn’t allow it. They just compromised, made it work, and made sure everyone was happy to make it happen.”
Of course, the challenge that the former champion Junior dos Santos will present on Sunday night at UFC Minneapolis will need to be pushed to the forefront of The Predator’s mind for now, but even still, he makes it clear that he could well make the crossover once he captures UFC gold.
“I take it step by step. Junior first, then fight for the title, then we see what happens. I am open to everything that can happen.
“I think it’s something that could happen. And I’m hopeful.”
If you want to know how we see the fight between Ngannou and JDS going down, read our official prediction here.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena