"Our heavyweights would smoke him" - Chatri Sityodtong doesn’t think Francis Ngannou can cut it in ONE Championship

Chatri Sityodtong (L) thinks Francis Ngannou (R) wouldn't be able to handle the heavyweights of ONE Championship. | [Photo: ONE Championship]
Chatri Sityodtong (L) thinks Francis Ngannou (R) wouldn't be able to handle the heavyweights of ONE Championship. | [Photo: ONE Championship]

Francis Ngannou may be one of the most dominant heavyweights in the world right now, but ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong is not particularly impressed.

The UFC heavyweight champion’s contract with the US-based promotion is still up in the air and there’s a real chance that he might leave the company. Considering his desire to compete in boxing, ONE Championship could be an ideal home for him.

ONE, Asia's biggest martial arts organization, has regularly showcased the different disciplines of martial arts at its events. In 2018, the promotion played host to a WBC super flyweight world title bout between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Iran Diaz.

Signing Ngannou is not on Sityodtong's list of priorities right now. Speaking to reporters after the 10-year anniversary show, ONE X, the ONE Chairman and CEO shared his thoughts on 'The Predator' possibly finding a home in Asia.

“I like Francis Ngannou but I think our Heavyweights would smoke him. He’s just not a complete fighter. If you ask any expert martial artist, you look at Anatoly Malykhin, for example — Russian national pedigree wrestler, dynamite in his hands. Much faster than Francis, much better ground game, black-belt level. He was also a submission champion in Europe. You look at Arjan Bhullar, wrestling, boxing. Francis is not very impressive on the ground. He’s got big, looping punches, he’s not as technical of a boxer as Anatoly or even Arjan.”

Watch Chatri Sityodtong at the ONE X post-fight presser below:

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Chatri Sityodtong teases some heavyweight signings

While Chatri Sityodtong isn’t thinking of signing Francis Ngannou anytime soon, he shared that ONE Championship’s heavyweight division is getting an upgrade. At the ONE X post-fight press conference, he said:

“We have a few other signings in the heavyweight division we haven’t announced yet that are just killers. So I think this year, the last several months especially, we have truly arrived in terms of our heavyweight division being neck and neck with the UFC’s.”

The division recently saw an influx of talented fighters.

Arjan Bhullar rose through the ranks and ended Brandon Vera’s six-year reign as the inaugural ONE heavyweight world champion. Previously undefeated fighters Anatoly Malykhin and Kirill Grishenko joined the promotion in 2021 and contested the ONE interim heavyweight world title last month.

Undefeated American heavyweight Odie Delaney also made his debut in the same event and turned in an impressive performance, winning via a first-round submission win. At ONE X, South Korean Kang Ji Won earned a USD 50,000 bonus for a 58-second knockout.

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Edited by C. Naik
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