When Tyson Fury said he was retiring from boxing after Saturday, he may have only been telling half the truth.
After retaining his WBC heavyweight title against challenger Dillian Whyte via sixth-round TKO, Fury brought UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou out from the stands to announce a fight against the mixed martial artist.
As Ngannou put it during an interview with ESPN:
"We are going to find out who the baddest motherf***er on the planet is."
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) April 23, 2022
Fury insisted he planned to retire in the run-up to the Whyte bout, but it appears he plans to instead change gears after a 32-0-1 boxing career that ended with the WBC belt, thanks to a pair of victories over Deontay Wilder. Ngannou captured the UFC heavyweight title in March 2021 with a win over Stipe Miocic and has retained it once, against Ciryl Gane in January.
The fight won't be a straight boxing match, or MMA match, though. As the pair vaguely described it, we can expect a sort of "hybrid" match, with MMA gloves in a boxing ring with no weight limits.
ESPN: "Will we see it in the Octagon or will see it in the ring?"
Fury: "This is going to be one very special fight, like never before seen in the history of our sport. We're not talking about two light guys. I'm 270, he's 270 pounds. It's going to be an explosive fight when it happens."
Ngannou: "It's going to be a hybrid fight with a different type of rules. MMA gloves in the ring, make something a little different."
If you were to pick a mixed martial artist whom you would want to see in the boxing ring, the answer would probably be Ngannou. The Cameroonian's punching power was legacy in the MMA world even before he became the champ, and he currently ranks among the most popular fighters in the UFC.
Ngannou is still recovering from surgery on a torn MCL and damaged ACL he suffered ahead of his fight against Gane. He told ESPN he should back on his feet in "a couple months." If the fight really does happen, Ngannou figures to make more money from that one night than his entire UFC career by a significant margin, which probably explains why he would venture away from the promotion after only one title defense.