Months after his departure from the UFC, former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou made quite an impression on his debut foray into the boxing ring in Riyadh last week. Ngannou made his debut against Tyson Fury, and while most didn’t expect the MMA star to go the distance, Ngannou went with Fury in nearly all ten rounds. Ngannou also floored Fury in Round 3, and kept his opponent on his toes throughout the contest.
The latter, however, won by split decision as one judge scored it 95-94 in favor of Ngannou, two gave it to Fury at 96-93 and 95-94. While many disagreed with the verdict, others who worked closely with Ngannou in the UFC praised his efforts. UFC president Dana White called it “unbelievable.”
Derrick Lewis, a member of the UFC’s heavyweight roster, also received some encouragement. In interaction with hindustantimes.comLewis, who meets Jailton Almeida in UFC Fight Night this week, said he didn’t get time to watch the bout but was updated by others about Ngannou’s performance.
“I didn’t see the fight but I heard about it. I think it’s really good for Ngannou for showing everyone that MMA fighters have a chance to get into boxing too,” Lewis said during his Zoom call.
Lewis calls the current UFC heavyweight roster “the best in MMA right now.” Not long ago Ngannou was part of the same roster but dropped his title after contract disputes and is now signed to the Professional Fighters League (PFL).
‘I can knock Almeida out in the first round’
Focusing on his fight, Lewis, who has a reputation for high points, was confident of another victory in a similar fashion. “I believe I can knock this guy out in the first round. Wait for him to take me down and take him from there,” he said.
When asked about his title aspirations, Lewis said he would look to fight again before making any challenge for the heavyweight gold, which is currently held by Jon Jones. “A couple more fights, like one fight after this one and they’ll be back in the title contention picture,” he said.
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