Eddie Hearn can already hear the till whistling.

The head of Matchroom believes former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is on the precipice of a very lucrative and potentially successful stint in boxing.

Ngannou, one of the most famous figures from the UFC, is now a free agent after he was unable to renegotiate his contract with the company.

Hearn said he has already had a preliminary meeting with Ngannou to discuss a possible pivot to boxing.

Ngannou’s name has been connected to WBC heavyweight titlist Tyson Fury and former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, whom Hearn promotes.

“We didn’t go too deeply into stuff, but I respect him greatly for the way he’s handled his career to a point where now he’s in a fantastic position,” Hearn told The MMA Hour With Ariel Helwani. “He has a new ocean to navigate now, which is a lot more rocky than the world of MMA and UFC in that he’s in the Wild West of boxing. I feel like he probably wants to build a team of people around him that can make sure they can successfully navigate that ocean and maximize his potential.

“We’ll see what happens. For me, we would love to be involved in his career. The Anthony Joshua fight is just probably among the biggest fights that can be made in any sport. Obviously, the Tyson Fury fight is there for him as well.”

“He has a golden opportunity now to really solidify himself financially, and many generations beyond him, through being involved in an event that would be one of the biggest in fight sports history,” Hearn added.

Hearn thinks, however, it would be a mistake for Ngannou to take his time feeling out The Sweet Science, lest he jeopardize a future juggernaut payday against a star like Joshua.

“I mean, I think he should fight Anthony Joshua,” Hearn continued. “I don’t see — this is another conversation I had with Nate Diaz’s guys. These guys have a mountain to climb in terms of the challenge of fighting an elite boxer, but to go through the process of having two or three fights — you know, one fight you might look bad because you’re learning, so the value really is the unknown.

“What happens when two titans from the world of fight sports collide? The UFC heavyweight world champion Francis Ngannou and the two-time world heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua. The complete unknown. The unknown of how good is Francis Ngannou? We know he punches extremely hard. If he lands one on Anthony Joshua, is it the greatest upset of all time? Or will AJ completely steamroll him and you’ll see Francis Ngannou get knocked out? That’s the attraction of that fight: the unknown.”

If Ngannou chooses to enter boxing, as most expect him to, he will follow in the footsteps of other UFC stars who have been able to earn the sort of remuneration that eluded them in the UFC. The most notable example is UFC star Conor McGregor, who crossed over briefly into boxing to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017, a fight that, while not competitive, broke box office records.

“So for me, if I’m representing Francis Ngannou, I want to make sure that this next move, I maximize every dollar that’s out there. He’s done the hard work, he’s done the years of hustle,” Hearn said. “He’s done the work to get himself in a position he can move forward with what he wants to do, take control of his career. And now the freedom that he has to do that must be incredibly motivating and enjoyable for him.

“You need people around you in boxing that know what they’re doing and you can trust, and that’s a very difficult thing. I would like to see him go straight into a big fight where he can make an absolute fortune, and then if he was to lose, to come back and actually have some fights in boxing.”