- Even before his pre-champion years, Francis Ngannou made waves in the UFC as one of the most brutal knockout artists in the sport today. His uppercut finish of Alistair Overeem in 2017 remains to be one of the scariest fight endings in recent MMA history.
“The Predator’s” reputation as a decapitator also created a lot of buzz for him as a potential boxer. Over the recent months, he’s managed to get himself attached to Tyson Fury’s name for a possible fight in the future.
But should Ngannou cross over into boxing, he may not do as well, according to former UFC title contender Anthony Smith.
“If Francis… let’s say he gets the Tyson Fury fight. We know how that’s gonna go. As analysts, there’s not a world where Francis Ngannou beats Tyson Fury. Francis Ngannou is just a regular dude as a heavyweight boxer,” Smith told Michael Bisping in a recent episode of the Believe You Me podcast.
“He’s uncommon in MMA. He’s unique, he’s very special. But in professional boxing? He’s average at best.
“At best, he’s an average puncher, he’s a below average boxer, he’s below average in his footwork and movement. He’s below average in his defense. He’s not gonna fare that well as a heavyweight professional boxer.”
For Smith, Ngannou’s name value may only carry him so far.
“Because he has a fantastic name and an incredible highlight reel in MMA, he’s gonna get a big fight, for sure. But probably just one.”
Ngannou was recently released from the UFC roster after years of butting heads with the organization. With his absence, the UFC decided to book a vacant title fight between former champion Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane, which headlines UFC 285 in March.
About the author: Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments. (full bio)