Deontay Wilder is thrilled to have Francis Ngannou join boxing, and he’s willing to face the same danger in a mixed martial arts bout against the former UFC heavyweight champion if they agree to meet.
Since leaving the UFC at the conclusion of his most recent contract, Ngannou has been hinting at a possible transition into boxing, a sport he had always wanted to compete in before he ever tried mixed martial arts. While Wilder, Tyson Fury, and Anthony Joshua have all been mentioned as possible opponents by Ngannou, the possibility of striking a two-fight deal in boxing and MMA could be the icing on the cake.
Wilder says he hasn’t given much thought to making the transition to mixed martial arts, but he admires fighters like Ngannou for being willing to take risks in boxing matches, so he figures it’s only fair that he do the same.
“That’s something I thought about even from the first spark of the idea,” Wilder said.
“I want to do something different. Since everybody is crossing between combat sports, and the MMA guys they always come to boxing.
“Of course, they ain’t got no stand up game as far as boxing is concerned so it’s always going to be more favored on the boxer’s side because you’re in our territory.”
Wilder claims that he would give his all in an MMA bout against Ngannou, promising that the bout would be about more than just the novelty and hype.
Wilder has said that if he ever decided to make the transition to mixed martial arts, he would hire a top coach and team to help him prepare.
While Ngannou has yet to accept the challenge, this seems like a viable option that could give the former UFC champion exactly what he wants in terms of scheduling his next fight.
“I love Francis,” Wilder told Trill Boxing Talk.
“When I met him at the [UFC] APEX in Vegas, we was talking about it during that time and I’m still interested in that fight. I would love to go to Africa for that one. I would love to do that one in Africa.
“I even thought about this idea. Let’s make it a two fight deal. Everybody always comes to boxing. Let’s do this — you come to my s***, I come to yours. You come to my house, I come to yours. A true tea party. I love that idea. I’m a true warrior.”
As 42 of Wilder’s 43 victories have been via knockout, he is widely considered to be the hardest puncher in boxing. Last October, he defeated Robert Helenius with a devastating finish, one of the year’s best.
Wilder claims that he and Ngannou discussed the possibility of a boxing match after meeting each other at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, where Wilder was preparing for an upcoming fight. Wilder noted that he had discussed the possibility with UFC president Dana White as well, though nothing came of it while Ngannou was still under contract with the organization.
“Me and Dana talked about it and I told him when he brought the idea to me,” Wilder said.
“The whole scene is if it makes dollars, it makes sense and that’s all they need to know. I know he’s doing his own thing and I’m proud of him for following his heart.
“I’m very interested in it. If [Francis] wants to do a showdown and give some people some good fights and let’s do it. I’d love to go over there to the continent and do it. That’s going to be a Marvel fight, two big Black superheroes and let’s just be nice. I’d love to do it. I think it would be great.”