UFC heavyweight champion Ngannou expecting to face Fury in 2023

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UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is "70 per cent" certain he will face boxing superstar Tyson Fury in a crossover fight next year.

Fury defeated Dillian Whyte via a sixth-round knockout at Wembley on Saturday to retain his WBC heavyweight title and reiterated afterwards he intends to retire from boxing.

However, the 33-year-old, who improved his career record to 32-0-1, has not ruled out competing under a different format – including another shot at WWE later this year.

And Ngannou, who joined Fury in the ring after this victory over compatriot Whyte, is hopeful that a hybrid fight can be agreed with the Englishman.

"We both want this fight, that's clear, and we respect each other," Ngannou told the MMA Hour. "Probably next year it will happen.

"I think it's going to happen, it's just a matter of our promotions, but we will sort this out at some point."

Ngannou added: "Make it a hybrid fight, something that makes it a little uncomfortable for him as a boxer.

"Ideas like MMA gloves or fighting barefoot. I don't know, we still have to figure this out.

"I would say there's a 70 per cent chance [my next opponent] is Tyson Fury. On his side I would say 90 per cent against me."

Ngannou underwent surgery to repair MCL and ACL injuries earlier this year and is not expected to return to action until November at the earliest.

The 35-year-old, who retained his heavyweight crown with victory over Ciryl Gane in January, is so determined to face Fury that he will make it part of any deal signed with UFC.

"The Tyson Fury fight has to be part of the discussion [with the UFC] – there is no other option," he said.

"The UFC is a great promotion and I want to keep fighting. The Tyson Fury fight is not my last fight, there's still a lot of fights out there.

"There's Jon Jones, there's the Stipe Miocic trilogy, there's big fights I can do in the UFC and I'd really like that to happen."

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