The French fighter, who was only nine bouts into his career heading into Saturday night, was masterful with his strategy as he picked Lewis apart from the outside, chopped away at his foundation with leg kicks and then started to attack the head with blistering combinations.
When the main event ended, UFC president Dana White revealed that Gane had out landed Lewis 104 to 8 in total strikes, which is one of the most lopsided title fights in the history of the promotion.
Heading into UFC 265, Gane had actually received some criticism after winning back-to-back decisions over Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik in less than thrilling affairs. While he may not have scored a finish in either of those fights, White praised Gane for his performance against Lewis, which earned him a third-round TKO stoppage.
“I got asked that during press day and apparently one of the guys was saying that I had said he was a boring fighter,” White relayed during the UFC 265 post-fight press conference. “I don’t ever remember saying that. I don’t ever remember calling him boring. Listen, if I said it, I’ll own it, but I think that this guy has a style — he’s a big, powerful badass heavyweight who moves like a middleweight. You saw tonight what he was able to do to Derrick Lewis. Completely shut him down. I don’t know specific numbers but it was in the hundreds [of strikes] and Derrick was like three [strikes].
“He completely shut him down, put on a clinic, looked good doing it, made it look easy against a guy who can turn the lights out with one punch. This kid’s super talented. Listen, when you get sucked into listening to people talk about ‘you’re boring’ and you’re this and that, you’ve got to tune that sh*t out and fight your style and fight the way that you fight. That’s what he did tonight.”
The way the fight played out, Gane was in complete control as he showcased fast footwork while forcing Lewis to back up all night long.
After chipping away at him from the outside, Gane started landing heavy leg kicks that really started to do damage and once Lewis was compromised, he went in for the kill.
White added that Saturday night was nothing against Lewis or his skill set but rather just further proof that Gane was the far superior fighter and worthy of the interim heavyweight title.
“What tonight showed you and showed the rest of the world is how good Ciryl Gane really is,” White said. “104 to 8 [in total strikes], what does that tell you? We all know who Derrick Lewis, he’s one of the best in the world. He’s been in there with guys that are great athletes, probably much better than him, should have beat him but he caught them. He caught them with that punch and ends up knocking them out.
“He couldn’t do anything in there tonight against Ciryl Gane. That’s how good Ciryl Gane is.”
Now that Gane has been cemented as interim champion, which essentially crowns him as the No. 1 contender to face Francis Ngannou next, White is excited to see how that chess match plays out.
Of course, Gane and Ngannou were previously teammate and training partners under head coach Fernand Lopez until “The Predator” moved to Las Vegas full time and began working exclusively out of Xtreme Couture.
White loves the storyline shared between the heavyweights and he’s anticipating a very interesting matchup once they finally set foot in the octagon to do battle.
“Ciryl Gane was too much for [Derrick Lewis],” White said. “Ciryl Gane moves like a middleweight. His footwork is unbelievable. This guy stays on his toes the whole time, stays on the outside and picks you apart. He is a very talented fighter. His fight IQ is through the roof. This guy’s the real deal. Him and Francis is a bad ass heavyweight fight.”
As far as timing goes to unify the heavyweight title, White didn’t have anything specific in mind directly after the event, although Gane mentioned he’d like a few months off with the birth of his child expected in the next couple of weeks.
That said, White anticipates booking Ngannou vs. Gane in the very near future.
“ASAP,” White said about the timing of the heavyweight title fight. “We’ll get it done as soon as it’s possible to do.”