Heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury has been warned the UFC will do "whatever they can" to prevent a crossover bout between him and Francis Ngannou.
Saturday night represented another defining moment in Fury's career, as he KO'd Dillian Whyte with a monstrous uppercut to retain his WBC and The Ring world titles. With 94,000 people in attendance at Wembley, 'The Gypsy King' then reiterated his desire to retire, saying this could be "the final curtain" on his career.
Just minutes later however, he appeared to contradict that claim, after inviting UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou into the ring. The pair then appeared to agree to a crossover hybrid bout, even shaking hands on it in front of television cameras.
Many are sceptical over the Morecambe man implying he'll walk away, with Lennox Lewis believing he will be unable to turn down a chance to unify the division by facing the winner of the Oleksandr Usyk v Anthony Joshua rematch. Lewis himself was the last heavyweight to be declared undisputed champion by beating Evander Holyfield in 1999.
His own father, John, has also dismissed the notion. Regardless, now-retired MMA veteran Josh Thomson thinks the likelihood of a unique bout with Ngannou could be seriously impeded by the UFC.
Speaking on his Weighing In podcast, Thomson said: "I think the UFC will do whatever they can to stop that fight from happening. Francis is a great heavyweight, I think he's fun to watch let's be honest, he doesn't bring in the numbers they [UFC] would need for him to bring in to pay him what boxing would pay him for one fight. I think Tyson would eat him up."
Who would win in a crossover bout between Fury and Ngannou? Let us know in the comments section.
The contract situation of 'The Predator' has become an ongoing saga in UFC. His current deal is due to expire in December and he is yet to agree on a new one following his successful title defence against Ciryl Gane in January.
He earned just £472,000 for that clash, a sum dwarfed by the £22.5 million Fury received for toppling Whyte. The Cameroonian has since been ruled out for the remainder of the year after undergoing knee surgery.
Another reported stumbling block between his relations with Dana White is Ngannou's desire to explore other combat sports. He's requested a clause that would allow him to compete in boxing whilst under contract with UFC.
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