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Pros react to Ciryl Gane vs. Derrick Lewis interim heavyweight title fight at UFC 265

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Three months after Francis Ngannou was crowned UFC heavyweight champion, an interim heavyweight title has been created.

UFC President Dana White on Monday announced a fight between top contender Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis for the interim belt at UFC 265 on Aug. 7 in Lewis’ home town of Houston. MMA Fighting confirmed that bout agreements are in place for the five-round title fight.

ESPN.com reported Ngannou was not available for the August pay-per-view, prompting the UFC to book an alternative after initially seeking to pair the champ against Lewis in June and then August. Lewis was named the No. 1 contender amid a dispute over pay between the UFC and former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, who was expected to get an immediate title shot after relinquishing his belt to move up a division.

Ngannou, who will retain his undisputed title that he took from Stipe Miocic at UFC 260, was one of several pros to react to the news of a new belt in the mix. Here’s how pros reacted to the UFC 265 interim title fight between Gane and Lewis.