Although the pair once had a bitter falling out, Lopez has since attempted to move past their differences. Now, ahead of arguably the biggest moment of Ngannou’s fighting career, Lopez has nothing but support to offer, and isn’t surprised to see the former UFC heavyweight champ’s bet on himself pay off.
“He always finds his way to make it, and he made it,” Lopez told MMA Junkie. “No matter the sport result, he’s already a winner.
“… When you have the right to fight the most dangerous fighter in boxing, in another sport without having even a single boxing fight, then you made it. You made it. You’re champ, you won already. If you take out everything that’s done with MMA, who will allow someone coming from nowhere to go there and talk with Tyson Fury? So he made it already. He’s a champ already.”
Ngannou will step into the ring for his professional boxing debut Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in a non-title bout against WBC heavyweight champion Fury. The fight eventually came together after Ngannou took a chance on himself after walking away from the UFC without having lost his title. Not many believed he could pull it off, but Ngannou had the last laugh when the official announcement of the fight was made in July.
While oddsmakers and pundits see “The Gypsy King” as a sizable favorite, Lopez isn’t so quick to count out Ngannou’s chances of pulling off an incredible upset.
“People that are saying that he has zero chance, I don’t think (so),” Lopez said. “I think that anything can happen. We saw Conor McGregor hitting (Floyd) Mayweather. Hitting a couple of uppercuts and people was like, ‘That’s fake.’ Because it was unbelievable. Someone coming from another sport, who can match a couple rounds with someone that is the best of the best in his only sport. That’s crazy. That’s just crazy if you really think. So we may have Francis there giving some shots.
“There’s a small, slight part of chance. If he have that chance to hit the chin when he’s fresh, he might just shock the world. Who knows? So, I don’t want to say there’s no chance, there’s zero chance. I want to say congratulations to him. Very good move to go to the boxing at the end of the day. And then, good luck for him because you have to keep dreaming, and he might just shock the world.”
For more on the matchup, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Fury vs. Ngannou.