Alex Pereira is giving his thoughts on the potential move to boxing for Francis Ngannou.
UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira is preparing for his very first title defense. He will be taking on a familiar opponent in Israel Adesanya later this year. That bout will be going down on April 8 live from Miami, Florida. In the leadup to his own match, however, Pereira is taking a look outside of the UFC, at what a former champion may be up to.
Pereira has a few thoughts on the potential boxing debut of former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. Pereira feels that Ngannou might be in a bit over his head with the sort of opponent he is looking towards for his boxing debut.
Alex Pereira is urging Francis Ngannou to take his boxing career one step at a time
Pereira came from the kickboxing world where he dominated for many years. He knows all too well how difficult it is to transition to another sport later in his career. He needed to learn the ground game in his move to MMA but was successful and is now a champion. It might not be that simple for Ngannou who is trying hard to book fights with some of the best boxers on the planet. In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Pereira spoke about his thoughts on Ngannou’s ambition.
“It depends if he’s fighting the elite,” Pereira said. “[Boxing against] Tyson is hard. It’s suicide. There are other guys for him to start. [He can go] one step at a time. If he really wants to fight those guys, then he’s just thinking about the money. I don’t know if that’s the case. But to say ‘I’m going there because I want to become champion,’ that’s hard.”
Pereira feels that Ngannou is relying on his knockout power in MMA to translate over to boxing. There is more to take into account that he feels might be overlooked by Ngannou, such as the cardio that goes into a longer boxing match.
“[Boxing] someone who can defend from his punches, [Ngannou] would get tired,” he said. “I”ll give you a dumb example: If you ask someone who’s never trained in his life to go against someone experienced and tell him to hit as hard as he can to knock him out, he’ll gas out in three minutes, and then one weak punch will knock him out since he has no defense anymore and can barely stand still. To me, knowing how to defend yourself is the most important thing.”
Pereira is known as one of the best strikers in the UFC at this time. He has a unique look at this situation, especially after his long kickboxing career. With so much insight, perhaps he can make yet another transition himself, and follow all of the UFC fighters heading over to the squared circle. But first, he takes on Adesanya once again at UFC 287.
Quotes from MMA Fighting.