Francis Ngannou vs. Tyson Fury is no longer a fantasy for the message boards.
The former UFC heavyweight champion will face WBC heavyweight champion Fury on October 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia per ESPN. Aside from the initial announcement, the rest of the details are being ironed out ahead of what could be the biggest fight of the year in any combat sport.
Ngannou famously left the UFC after defending his title against Ciryl Gane two years ago. A sticking point that led to Ngannou’s departure as a still-reigning champion was permission to pursue a boxing match with his new contract. UFC President Dana White reneged, and the two proceeded with a messy divorce that is still playing out.
Ngannou’s title would be vacated, though Jon Jones would later win the title at UFC 285. Ngannou tested the waters of free agency, ultimately settling on a multi-fight deal with PFL. His deal with PFL directly allowed him to explore options in a boxing ring prior to competing for the organization.
Fury is regarded as the #1 heavyweight in boxing due to being undefeated and his dominant wins over the likes of Wladimir Klitschko, Dilian Whyte, and Deontay Wilder. Unless otherwise stated, Ngannou is unofficially recognized as the real heavyweight champion.
What we do know about Fury vs. Ngannou is that it will be contested under conventional boxing rules. However, what is still unclear will be the bout length, the official nature of the fight, and if Fury’s title will be on the line.
If the fight is an official one and does not go the exhibition route, then Ngannou will be a decided underdog against Fury. The two are close in age and size, but from a pure boxing standpoint, Ngannou is being matched up with one of the best technical heavyweights of the modern era.
Either way, Fury vs. Ngannou is going to be a huge event for fans of both sports, and the world will be watching come October.