HYDEN BLOG: Ngannou vs. Joshua and McGregor vs. Chandler Finally Has A Date

By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist

This is the last week without an event so I will venture one more timeinto the world of MMA news. This is something very interesting that
was announced in the combat sports world that I’ll go into first and then maybe we’ll find something else?

Fresh off of his decision loss to WBC Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury
(34-0-1) last October Francis Ngannou (0-1 Boxing, 17-3 MMA) has signed to fight Anthony Joshua (27-3) in March.
Ngannou has opened as a substantial underdog, which he should be, but there’s a very real possibility that he beats Joshua with his
incredible power. It’s not likely but it’s possible.
Joshua will obviously be paid well for this fight as he’s assuming almost all the risk. If Ngannou beats him it crushes his short-term
prospects, especially in terms of fighting for any titles. If Joshua
wins he beat a guy new to the sport who has yet to win a fight.
I could see Ngannou pulling off the upset. However, Joshua won’t be underestimating Ngannou like Fury clearly was. Joshua should be fully
locked in. I think that makes the difference and the fight goes the distance but I think there’s a pretty decent chance that Ngannou wins.
He’s not gonna want to drop to 0-2 so he’s gonna be laser-focused. The problem is, so is Joshua so it’s going to be extremely tough. However, the power Ngannou has is undeniable so there’s always that chance of
him landing a fight-changing punch.
The odds on Ngannou winning will likely remain a longshot so I might place a small bet on him but I’m pretty sure Joshua wins so I probably won’t. I’m very interested in seeing this fight because win or lose, Ngannou continues to make waves and make himself must-watch.


UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Alex Pereira (9-2) recently posted a picture of himself in an elevator with a caption reading 104.6kg. That equates to a little over 230lbs., which makes you think more about Pereira fighting Interim Heavyweight Champion Tom Aspinall (14-3) at
UFC 300.
It’s an interesting fight for sure but having a guy jump up in weight to fight for an interim title is also crazy.
As for the fight itself, I would have to think that Aspinall knocks
out Pereira because of his power but I don’t want to undersell
Pereira’s own power. He’s clearly packing dynamite in his fists as well.
Would I be excited and interested if they announced this fight?
Absolutely. The fight itself would probably be incredible and the chance of seeing Pereira make history as the first fighter to win a title in three divisions would make for a great evening.
However, it would also mean that a guy would win a title, not even defend it once, then move up to try to win another title. I don’t know if I want to set that precedent. I understand not everyone is Pereira, with his fighting ability and size, but it’s still a dangerous precedent to create.
Maybe I’m overthinking it, though?


Cris Cyborg (27-2, 1 No Contest MMA, 2-0 Boxing) recently posted on Twitter/X that Kayla Harrison (16-1 MMA) turned down the proposed fight with her that was supposed to take place sometime this year. It’s hard to say if this is showmanship or if it’s even true. Maybe
there was a communication error somewhere?
Regardless, Cyborg vs. Harrison is definitely one of the big fights to make after the PFL acquisition of Bellator. There’s been no word as to when the proposed Bellator vs. PFL event would take place, though
Ariel Helwani said on his podcast that he thinks February 24th could be the date. There’s a UFC Fight Night event on that same day so I would think that the event wouldn’t take place then but I suppose it’s
possible. I imagine we won’t have to wait long for confirmation on when the event will actually take place, unless it gets delayed to the middle of the year or later.


Conor McGregor (22-6) announced last week that his fight with Michael
Chandler (23-8) will take place June 29th at middleweight. That’s an
odd weight to choose but maybe it’s to try to make sure his leg is as strong as possible? Who knows? Either way the fight is finally announced and hopefully actually takes place now. I imagine McGregor wouldn’t have said anything unless it was already decided but you never truly know with him.
I am interested in this fight, though, but it’s not one that’s going
to determine anything in any of the divisions these guys could fight in. Still, it should be exciting enough and will likely draw in a bunch of eyeballs.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading and sticking with me. Fight events resume next week so I’ll be back to my usual format then. I hope everyone’s having a good new year so far and I wish you good

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Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at
hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank.
Thanks for reading and have a good day.

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