Ever since leaving the UFC in January earlier this year, Francis Ngannou has been making waves in the combat sports world and is just one month away from the biggest moment of his career.
Though many believed he had made a grave mistake after departing the UFC, the knockout artist proved the doubters wrong by securing a deal with his dream opponent, Tyson Fury. While many expect him to come up short in the 10-round boxing bout, the MMA standout has been under the tutelage of legendary boxer, Mike Tyson.
During an appearance on Joe Rogan’s renowned podcast, Francis Ngannou revealed his love for Mike Tyson and just how surreal it is to learn from him.
“I grew up idolizing Mike Tyson, right? And having a dream to become a world-class boxer. My first boxing match, Mike Tyson is in the gym,” Insisted Ngannou. “I hear Mike Tyson cheer. Like even mentally, like just thinking like that. Sometimes I’m like, ‘Yes it’s him, right?’ I’m not tripping. I’m like, okay. This thing is serious. Not only he’s there and he believes you can beat this guy, that’s how it is. He puts his faith in you, a guy that has done everything in boxing. So he’s seeing me as somebody that can do this?”
The former UFC heavyweight king then reminisced on Tyson’s mesmerizing style in the ring and the areas he most wished to learn from the icon before making his debut against Fury.
“His technique, Mike Tyson has a unique style. I wish I had his style, but I’m not going to expect to copy his style because it’s unique to him… He’s built different, he was always the shortest guy in the room. So with his opponents, which is the case in this fight, I’m the shortest… One thing people see is how strong he was, he was knocking people out and nobody was impressed at how he was able to move from left to right, footwork, and all those stuff. How he was that short and able to get into the distance when he wanted to hit and all those stuff, right? Which is something that’s very interesting. With Mike Tyson, the one, best thing that you can get from Mike Tyson is the footwork… In boxing, everything is about your foot. And his power was based on his footwork. Like, when you have a good base, your punch is definitely stronger [than] when you don’t have a good base.”
As he became accustomed to facing fighters taller than him, Mike Tyson has been giving pointers to Ngannou on where he can succeed against a man with the frame of “The Gypsy King”.
“His entire career, he almost fight people that was like Tyson Fury. And that’s why I explicitly went to him about this fight because I feel like, again, if I was able to have like, let’s say a quarter of what Mike Tyson has, this fight would be easy… I mean, that’s not an easy fight but he’ll be [an] easier fight.”
Ngannou will begin his venture into boxing against a man many believe to be the current greatest boxer alive. The pair are set to collide in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in what is being dubbed as the ‘Battle of the Baddest’. You can watch the action unfold when they take center stage on October 28.