Fury and Ngannou will meet Saturday in a highly anticipated 10-round boxing match that pits the lineal boxing heavyweight champion against the lineal MMA heavyweight champion. Before they step in the ring, they’ve spent the week together at various media functions, including grand arrivals, open workouts and a pre-fight news conference.
Each time out, Fury has been his charismatic self in front of Ngannou. He’s called Ngannou “little man” and “a big, fat sausage” to his face multiple times as he’s mocked Ngannou’s ripped physique compared to Fury’s dad-bod figure. At the weigh-ins, Fury immediately got in Ngannou’s face and leaned into him – only to back off and laugh about it.
All in good fun, right? Tyson sees right through what Fury’s been doing.
“It’s psychological,” Tyson told MMA Junkie and other reporters Friday on the red carpet of a gala dinner. “Tyson likes to get in your head.”
Here’s the thing about playing mind games with Ngannou: He’s endured too much struggle in his life – going from a Cameroonian refugee who was smuggled into Europe to reaching the pinnacle of mixed martial arts as UFC heavyweight champion – to let Fury’s shenanigans get to him.
That’s how Tyson sees it.
“I don’t think so,” Tyson said when asked if Fury has gotten to Ngannou. “He’s very polite and very composed all the time, very sophisticated and respectful. He’s a different kind of fighter. I’ve never experienced it before as far as his demeanor.”
Given it’s Ngannou’s boxing debut, the odds are stacked against him to find meaningful success in the fight, never mind beating Fury. Tyson believes there’s only one way Ngannou can approach the fight to give himself any chance.
“Be aggressive, use the jab and come forward,” Tyson said. “In this particular fight, he’s the small guy. … As far as height, he’s the small guy. He’s gonna have to be aggressive. He can punch to the body, and he wouldn’t have to stand up. He can punch to the body and fight the taller guy (like that).”
For more on the matchup, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Fury vs. Ngannou.