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Morning Report: Ciryl Gane not worried about Francis Ngannou’s power in their title fight: ‘This is not scaring me’

UFC 265: Lewis v Gane Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Early next year, interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane will look to rest the title of “Baddest Man on the Planet” from current undisputed champion Francis Ngannou when the two clash at UFC 270. Ngannou, who won the title with a brutal second-round KO of Stipe Miocic at UFC 260, is widely considered to be the most powerful puncher in MMA, but when Gane steps into the cage with him, the interim champion says he’s not all that worried about Ngannou’s power, because he knows how to navigate around big punchers.

“This is not scaring me,” Gane told Submission Radio. “You see with Derrick Lewis, he had big knockout power too. Derrick Lewis is a beast too. But it was not a problem. When you look at the fight, I stayed inside like that with his punches. It was not a problem. A heavyweight like me, I can punch too like that with a big transfer But no, it’s not a problem for me. This is really not scaring me.

“I’m really confident in myself. When I started in Muay Thai too I was like that, because every fight in my career, in front of me, it was a man more experienced than me. Every time. And that’s why I was really confident that everything is possible, and I did it. So, today I think I have my chance too. He has his qualities, his strengths, I have mine. And we will see in January who can make his game plan better than his opponent.”

Gane is right to be confident in his skills. After a brief but successful Muay Thai career, Gane transitioned to MMA where he has thus far been sterling, winning all 10 of his professional fights on his way to the interim title, and looking borderline untouchable as he did so. Perhaps more importantly though, Gane actually has some experience with Ngannou. Both Ngannou and Gane used to train at MMA Factory in France under Fernand Lopez, and the two have sparred together in the past, though it has been several years since then. Still, Gane says he knows something of Ngannou’s power from their time together in the trenches.

I remember the first sparring we did, I was like, okay, this man likes to punch really hard,” Gane said. “And he punches for real. Like, even when it was just sparring, he liked to punch really hard. And I was really happy about that, because for me it was really great for me to comparing myself with Francis. Because when I started MMA, he was already in the top five. So, it was really great for me to compare myself, my level.

“It’s not a secret. Everybody knows what his strength is, everybody knows what it is. Having that big knockout power, everybody knows that. So, it’s not a surprise. It’s exactly the same at the gym, during the sparring sessions. So, yes, this has helped me a little a bit to know who he is, but it is not a surprise. I have Fernand Lopez. He was his coach too. So, this maybe helps me more than nothing. So no, nothing special. This short session of sparring we did helped me just for my experience, not to know for this future fight. No, not really.”

Ultimately though, as the two men haven’t trained together in years, and with fight-ending power like Ngannou’s it’s tough to be sure exactly what to expect when UFC 270 rolls around. However, Gane is hoping it ends up looking a lot like this past weekend’s heavyweight boxing bout between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, where the hard-hitting knockout artist was eventually felled by the superior tactics and skill of his opponent.

“Sometimes the power – and I hope it’s going to be the same for me (laughs) with Francis – but sometimes when the guy is really quick, really smart, every time you have the solution. So, I hope it’s going to be the same for me, and I think this helped (Tyson Fury) Gypsy for real.... and I hope I’m gonna fight very well like Tyson Fury.”

UFC 270 takes place on Jan. 22 at a location still to be determined.


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Booted. Jon Jones asked to leave Jackson Wink MMA; coach asks him to ‘stop drinking’ but leaves open return.

Undermine. Francis Ngannou accuses UFC of trying to ‘discredit’ him: ‘Just do the interim without sabotaging me’.

Meritocracy. Carla Esparza explains why she’s willing to wait for a title shot; Dana White advises her against it.

USADA. Former UFC fighter Geraldo de Freitas suspended 2 years by USADA following arbitration hearing.


The MMA Hour.

Aspen Ladd and Norma Dumont.

Free fight.

Nick Diaz at UFC 266.

Francis Ngannou at Jeff’s Barbershop.



Belal Muhammad expands his range to Neil Magny.

Conor McGregor, moseying around Italy.

That’s 400 lbs. of ass-beating in one photo.

The only universal measuring system.


Phil Dawes (11-2) vs. Chris Curtis (26-8); UFC 268, Nov. 6.

Brandon Moreno (19-5-2) vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (20-2-1); UFC 270, Jan. 22.

Kyler Phillips (9-2) vs. Marcelo Rojo (16-7); UFC 271, Feb. 12.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



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