Francis Ngannou's ex-trainer Fernand Lopez has insisted that he "can't see" a way in which the UFC heavyweight champion could ever beat Tyson Fury – even after three years of boxing training.
The UFC icon, who will put his belt on the line against undefeated challenger Ciryl Gane on January 23, has had a long-standing row over pay with Dana White.
During that period, Ngannou has become enamoured with the sport of boxing and the potential of earning tens of millions for a single bout – later calling out WBC and The Ring heavyweight champion Fury.
With Fury responding in a positive manner, and suggesting a fight with mixed boxing and MMA ruling, Lopez has warned his former client that he doesn't have even the slimmest of chances.
Cameroonian former mixed martial artist and current trainer Lopez had guided Ngannou into his first UFC title bout against Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 – after which their relationship deteriorated.
Ngannou has gone on to earn another shot at the champ, winning the title in style, and will put his title on the line for the first time against Gane later this month.
Making things even more personal, Lopez is the trainer of UFC interim heavyweight champion Gane, who has a perfect record from his 10 MMA bouts and caused waves in the sport.
Lopez has now been asked about Ngannou's potential meeting with Fury after the upcoming UFC showdown, despite the promotion being able to extend the contract of the champion should he retain his title.
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Lopez said: "I think the fight makes sense for Francis because he thinks he can cash out. There’s also something there for Tyson Fury – he doesn't care that it’s not a competitive fight, he just wants to make money and make some news.
"It would take at least three years for Francis Ngannou to be competitive from a boxing standpoint with Tyson Fury, and I mean three years only dedicated to boxing.
“Realistically he would have to stop everything else and probably do nothing else for three years, only boxing. No grappling, nothing else. The way that his body and muscles are built, it will not allow him to keep throwing punches after the third round."
Adding: "I’m not sure Francis can ever challenge the stamina or endurance of Tyson Fury. All he can do is have a high defence; be elusive, close footwork, change direction."
Lopez does not think, that even with years of training, Ngannou would be a good match for the skillset of the undefeated Fury, who defended his titles against Deontay Wilder in October.
He continued: "But eventually Tyson will wear him down, get him tired, work the body and then go up with the uppercut, and sooner or later Francis will give up because of the volume, because of the pressure shots and he will just go down. I don’t see how he can win the match, this is an opportunity for him to cash out.
"I’m not sure if you’re a UFC fighter it’s worth letting it all go and have three years of steady boxing training – how would you live your life, what would be your income? And after three years you may be competitive enough to stand there and keep throwing punches.
"We are not expecting anything brilliant, Francis is not a boxer. You train a lot to be a boxer. Boxing needs dedication, boxing needs sacrifice, you need years and years to train. So we know the outcome of that fight."
The quotes in this article first appeared on the Betway US blog
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