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Coach: I’d like to see Francis Ngannou fight Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua a year from now

Yes, here’s another “MMA fighter vs. boxer in the boxing ring” story.

UFC 218: Overeem v Ngannou Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Francis Ngannou earned himself a UFC heavyweight title shot with a whopper of a knockout against Alistair Overeem at UFC 218. Ngannou is a perfect 6-0 inside the Octagon, and he’s won all but one of those fights by KO or TKO. He has very much earned his reputation as one of the scariest and most violent fighters on the UFC roster, and his rise to the top is a much-needed boost for the heavyweight division.

Assuming all goes according to plan, Ngannou will face Stipe Miocic in early 2018, but if it was up to Francis’ coach, Dewey Cooper, he has grand visions of the 31-year-old going up against the top heavyweight boxers.

“He has punching power,” Cooper said to MMAjunkie. “Anyone that has that equalizer will fare well. If he spends more time and takes it seriously, trains hard, he could be a champ in boxing also.

“Everyone was so enthralled about the Conor McGregor/Floyd Mayweather fight. I’d like to see Francis about one year from now fight whoever the heavyweight champion is, whether it be Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua. That would be a real fight, where an MMA fighter could go in there and upset a current boxing champion.”

Cooper is a longtime combat sports coach who also trains current UFC lightweight contender Kevin Lee, as well as former WBO welterweight boxing champion Jessie Vargas. Ngannou made a full-time move to the United States following his January win over Andrei Arlovski, so the Overeem fight marked his first one training exclusively stateside.

If Cooper really wants to see Ngannou take on one of Wilder or Joshua, then obviously he has something in common with Stipe Miocic, who has been calling for a fight with Joshua for months.