Tyson Fury has dared Francis Ngannou to crossover into the boxing ring, hours after the UFC champion retained his title and talked up a change of sports.
WBC champion Fury posted on social media: “Congratulations Ngannou, but if you want to make some real money come see the [Gypsy King].”
Ngannou unified the UFC heavyweight division by out-grappling and outpointing Ciryl Gane on Saturday night.
He then said: “Boxing is always in my back pocket. It is something I must do before the end of my career.
“I am looking for opportunities to do it. I am thinking about it.”
But Tom Aspinall, Britain’s emerging UFC heavyweight contender, dismissed Ngannou’s chances of successfully switching sports.
“He can’t be competitive,” Aspinall said.
“It does not translate.
“I have sparred rounds with Tyson Fury myself.
“Boxing for MMA doesn’t translate into pure boxing as well as MMA fighters think.
“Those guys have been doing 12 rounds forever and know how to control their energy.
“Boxing in MMA is predominantly just boxing. There is so much more to boxing – they are clever with energy, how to ride punches, turn punches over, hit to the body.
“There is a whole load of stuff that MMA fighters don’t understand.”
Ngannou’s victory on Saturday night was his final fight on his current UFC contract.
Ngannou’s manager Marquel Martin previously insisted: “Francis is dangerous for Fury because the best fighter to fight Fury to date is Deontay Wilder. Deontay isn’t known for ‘sweet science’ – he’s known for his devastating power.
“With that power, he was able to successfully land some (very hard to do) power shots that put Tyson on the canvas a few times.
“I acknowledge it’s very difficult to hit Tyson. However, if Francis was to put together six to 12 months on strictly boxing, I’m confident Francis can learn the mechanics and timing he’d need to land some power shots.
“Francis hits way harder than Deontay.
“Francis is very serious about boxing – that was his first dream. That’s what he left Africa to learn how to do.”
Sky Sports Boxing schedule
Sunday January 30 in Tulsa
Robson Conceicao vs Xavier Martinez – WBC super-featherweight title eliminator
Nico Ali Walsh
Saturday February 5 in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles
Saturday February 19 in Manchester
Amir Khan vs Kell Brook
Frazer Clarke’s pro debut
Saturday February 26 in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight titles
Nick Campbell vs Jay McFarlane – Scottish heavyweight title
Saturday March 5 in Fresno
Jose Ramirez vs Jose Pedraza
Sunday March 20 in New York
Edgar Berlanga vs Steve Rolls