Tyson Fury has challenged Francis Ngannou to move to the boxing ring, hours after the UFC champion retained his title and discussed a change of sport.
WBC champion Fury posted on social media: “Congratulations Ngannou, but if you want to make real money come to the [Gypsy King].”
Ngannou united the UFC heavyweight division by beating and beating Ciryl Gane on Saturday night.
He then said: “Boxing is always in my back pocket. It’s something I have to do before the end of my career.
“I’m looking for opportunities to do it. I’m thinking about it.”
But Tom Aspinall, Britain’s emerging UFC heavyweight contender, rejected Ngannou’s chances of successfully switching sports.
“He can’t be competitive,” Aspinall said.
“It doesn’t translate.
“I’ve been sparring with Tyson Fury myself.
“Boxing for MMA does not translate into pure boxing as MMA fighters think.
“Those guys have done 12 laps forever and they know how to control their energy.
“Boxing in MMA is mostly just boxing. There’s so much more to boxing – they’re smart with energy, how to drive punches, turn punches, punch the body.
“There’s a lot of things that MMA fighters don’t understand.”
Ngannou’s win on Saturday night was his last fight on his current UFC contract.
Ngannou’s manager Marquel Martin previously insisted: “Francis is dangerous for Fury because Deontay Wilder is the best fighter to fight Fury. Deontay is not known for ‘sweet science’ – he is known for his destructive 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 recognize that hitting Tyson is very difficult. But if Francis were to get six to 12 months into strict boxing, I am confident Francis can learn the mechanics and timing he needs to get some power shots.
“Francis hits a lot 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 5 February in Cardiff
Chris Eubank Jr vs Liam Williams
Claressa Shields vs Ema Kozin – IBF, WBA and WBC Middleweight Titles
Saturday 19 February in Manchester
Amir Khan vs. Kell Brook
Frazer Clarke’s Pro Debut
Saturday 26 February 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 20 March in New York
Edgar Berlanga vs Steve Rolls