Anthony Smith: ‘Below average’ boxer Francis Ngannou will get a big fight for sure, but probably just one
Anthony Smith is wondering what Francis Ngannou’s long-term plan is.
Heavyweight champion Ngannou parted ways with the UFC after he failed to come to an agreement on a new deal. Despite being offered what UFC president Dana White said would have been the biggest deal for a heavyweight in UFC history, Ngannou decided not to re-sign with the promotion.
Ngannou initially wanted the ability to box to be part of his new deal and after White confirmed that the UFC wasn’t willing to oblige, it appears that is one of the main reasons Ngannou decided to leave. But Smith says Ngannou doesn’t have the boxing skill to compete at an elite level and doesn’t see other MMA organizations being a good fit for the knockout artist.
“I want all the fighters to make as much money as they possibly can,” Smith said on Michael Bisping’s “Believe You Me” podcast. “I want you to dig deep into Uncle Dana’s pockets – as deep as you can. But I’m realistic, and I understand the sport and the business of the sport. Let’s say he gets the Tyson Fury fight. We know how that’s going to go. There’s not a world where Francis Ngannou beats Tyson Fury (in boxing). Francis Ngannou is just a regular dude as a heavyweight boxer.
“He’s uncommon in MMA. He’s unique. He’s very special. But in professional boxing, he’s average at best. He’s an average puncher, he’s a below-average boxer, he’s below average in his footwork and movement, he’s below average in his defense. He’s not going to fare that well as a heavyweight professional boxer. So because he has a fantastic name and an incredible highlight reel in MMA, he’s going to get a big fight for sure. But probably just one.”
Smith doesn’t think Ngannou will make more money outside the UFC in the long run. He thinks part of selling a fight is having the right dance partner and doesn’t see too many options for Ngannou – especially in MMA.
“Is he going to go somewhere else in MMA and make as much money as he would make getting pay-per-view revenue and being behind the promotional monster that the UFC is? I don’t think so,” Smith said.
“It’s all about compelling matchups. That’s what sells fights. There is maybe one or two guys outside the UFC on the MMA side that are compelling matchups, and they don’t have the promotional push that the UFC has.”
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