Demetrious Johnson echoes claims Anthony Joshua could beat Francis Ngannou in MMA: ‘It’s an easy fight’

Demetrious Johnson Anthony Joshua Francis Ngannou

Demetrious Johnson once said that he believes Anthony Joshua could beat Francis Ngannou in an MMA fight and is standing by his statement.

Just a few months ago, Joshua and Ngannou went toe to toe in a boxing match at an event called “Knockout Chaos”. Things went pretty badly for the former UFC heavyweight champion, as Joshua would make easy work of him and put him away in the second round with a vicious overhand right.

Ngannou’s performance inspired some controversial takes, and Demetrious Johnson made waves when he claimed that he could see ‘AJ’ defeating the former UFC star inside the octagon. Now, in a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Johnson is sticking by his opinion and breaking it down for the media and fans alike.

Demetrious Johnson defends his Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou take

“It’s not like Francis is some world-class kickboxer,” Johnson told Ariel Helwani. “You look at all Francis fights; he does have some submission wins, he does have somewhere he takes somebody down.”

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“But if I can take a guy like Anthony Joshua, who is an athletic specimen, who understands range and distance, and I train him for six months — six months — to defend a takedown, check the leg kick, and just box. You’re not going to have 16-ounce gloves. The distance doesn’t change at all. … So if I can take somebody who is athletic, which Anthony Joshua is athletic, it’s an easy fight.”

According to Demetrious Johnson, Joshua’s advantage is due to the stylistic matchup between the two men. Johnson feels that Ngannou doesn’t have the style to pose an impossible challenge to ‘AJ’, and other heavyweights definitely do have a style that would present major issues to the boxing phenom.

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“Now, here’s the flip side: How would it go against Anthony Joshua vs. Jon Jones? Different animal,” Johnson said. “Jon Jones would go out there and force the clinch. He would go out there and force the wrestling exchange. Maybe Francis Ngannou would do that, but I don’t think Francis would do that. From the years I’ve seen him fight, that’s how I view that fight. I’m not saying Francis is going to get destroyed, but I do believe [Joshua] has a chance of beating him because he just knocked him the f*ck out in a boxing match!”

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“Francis has been very successful in the boxing world in MMA,” Demetrious Johnson continued. “He boxes people. When he beat Stipe Miocic, yes, he threw some leg kicks. That’s very easy to manage. It’s not like an Edson Barboza legkick. But he and Stipe were going back and forth. Stipe actually rocked him.”

“I would go on to say Anthony Joshua is a better boxer than Stipe Miocic. Not a better MMA guy, but in mixed martial arts, I say it all the time: MMA is the easiest sport to become a world champion in. It truly is. you have people who are very good at one thing and have so many holes and deficiencies in their game.”

Francis Ngannou’s coach weighs in on the Demetrious Johnson take

Francis Ngannou’s own coach, Eric Nicksick, wasn’t even very optimistic about the thought of an MMA bout between his star pupil and Anthony Joshua. Nicksick actually agreed with much of Johnson’s sentiments about the situation and even lent his own analysis.

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“There were things I think we needed to do better,” Nicksick said. “So if this was an MMA fight, what did we see anecdotally that would have changed that same outcome if it was in MMA? We would have gotten slept, whether it was four-ounce gloves or not.”

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“So it tells me we have to show the element of level change, we have to kick the lead leg out, we have to do other things to keep the distance, cut the cage off, and then blast-double that motherf*cker and put him on his back. Then it’s in our realm. So what [Johnson is] saying is absolutely true.”

What do you think of Demetrious Johnson’s opinion about how an MMA fight would play out between Ngannou and Joshua?