UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou expects a crossover fight with Tyson Fury to happen next year.
"We both want this fight, that's clear, and we respect each other," Ngannou said on the MMA Hour on Monday.
Fury, 33, has hinted at retirement from professional boxing but did not rule out competing under a different format.
Cameroon's Ngannou added: "Probably next year it will happen.
"I think it's going to happen, it's just a matter of our promotions, but we will sort this out at some point."
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'Fury fight has to be part of UFC discussions'
Ngannou is currently recovering from knee surgery and unlikely to be able to compete until at least December.
That is the same time his deal with the UFC ends, which would leave Ngannou in a position to agree a Fury fight without contract restrictions.
He says he is open to re-signing with the UFC, but only if a contest with Fury is implemented into a new contract.
"The Tyson Fury fight has to be part of the discussion [with the UFC] - there is no other option," said Ngannou.
"The UFC is a great promotion and I want to keep fighting. The Tyson Fury fight is not my last fight, there's still a lot of fights out there.
"There's Jon Jones, there's the Stipe Miocic trilogy, there's big fights I can do in the UFC and I'd really like that to happen."
Ngannou says the potential bout with Fury would feature a combination of boxing and MMA rules.
"Make it a hybrid fight, something that makes it a little uncomfortable for him as a boxer," he added.
"Ideas like MMA gloves or fighting barefoot. I don't know, we still have to figure this out.
"I would say there's a 70% chance [my next opponent] is Tyson Fury. On his side I would say 90% against me."
'I should have been allowed extra time to recover' - Whyte
Meanwhile, Whyte has accused British rival Fury of using "dirty" tactics to retain his WBC heavyweight title.
Fury ended the fight with a devastating uppercut, but Whyte, 34, believes a push following the punch should have been penalised by the referee.
"I was buzzed, but obviously I was trying to regather my senses and he proper pushed me and I fell over and hit my head on the canvas, which is illegal," Whyte told Sky Sports.
"I got caught, no doubt about it. I got caught by a good shot. I was hurt, I was trying to get my senses together and he full on, two-handed pushed me. It wasn't like a one-armed thing.
"This isn't wrestling, this is boxing. I should have been allowed extra time to recover and then carried on fighting."
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