Last week, newly-crowned UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou announced his long held desire to one day win a boxing title, and promoter Eddie Hearn says he would “love” to see the Cameroonian go toe-to-toe with Dillian Whyte.
At the age of 22, Ngannou, now 34, had originally trained for a career in boxing but switched career paths to focus on MMA. In contrast, Whyte began his career as a professional kickboxer, winning the British super-heavyweight title, and in 2008 he made his MMA debut, stopping his opponent in just 12 seconds before moving into the world of boxing.
Whyte was last in action in March, putting in a terrific performance to stop Alexander Povetkin in four rounds, sealing revenge over the Russian who stopped him last year.
A potential crossover between these two giants has been mooted before. Hearn had tried to play up the war of words between Ngannou and Whyte a few years ago, who at the time were trading barbs with one another in the press and on social media. A press conference was even filmed to fuel the rivalry but the UFC became aware of the taping and stepped in to put a stop to the promotion.
Despite the setback, Hearn ostensibly still has an appetite for the crossover and wants to see the two fight each other in a two-bout series; one in the ring and another in the cage. Something he also envisions between superstars Katie Taylor and Amanada Nunes, too.
“I love Francis Ngannou. We almost had a presser with Dillian Whyte and him, but the UFC shut that down after we taped it. We do have the footage, though. I would love to see a double matchup with Ngannou and Dillian Whyte. One in the cage and one out of it. Ditto for Taylor and Nunes,” Hearn told AK and Barak on SiriusXM.
It’s not just Whyte that could find himself in a bout with the UFC superstar in the near future though, with Hearn claiming that nothing’s impossible even a clash with WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO champion Anthony Joshua.
“AJ wants to be the best, but he also wants to do different things once he meets his goals,” Hearn said.
“So a fight with Francis Ngannou isn’t impossible. Just like Katie Taylor vs Cyborg or Nunes, potentially,"