Ciryl Gane is laser focused on beating former teammate Francis Ngannou in the UFC 270 main event, but he can’t ignore the possibilities of what happens next if he becomes the undisputed heavyweight champion.
At the top of that list is a potential showdown with former 205-pound king Jon Jones, who has been plotting his move to the heavyweight division for more than a year. Jones has already said he plans on watching and studying the title fight on Saturday night to scout his future opposition and Gane certainly hopes he’ll be the one to welcome him to the division.
“This will be a pleasure if I win [at UFC 270] against Francis, yes I want to fight against Jon Jones,” Gane said at the UFC 270 media day. “This is the next one.
“A lot of people talk about that already because we are maybe the more well-rounded guys in this division and a lot of people talk about a technical fight. It will probably be a good matchup. Yes, if it’s possible, we’re going to do this.”
While Jones may be the ultimate prize for whoever wins at UFC 270, Gane isn’t looking past Ngannou in any way, shape or form because that’s still a mighty big test he has to pass in order to become champion.
In fact even with the interim title around his waist after thoroughly dominating and eventually finishing Derrick Lewis this past August, Gane has no illusions about his standing in the division until he gets through Ngannou.
“I’m the interim champion. I’m not the champion,” Gane said. “I’m not the best guy. I’m not the baddest guy in the world. Today it’s Francis. If I want to be this guy, I must beat Francis.”
When it comes to the actual fight, Gane has heard the narrative that this matchup really boils down to his technique versus Ngannou’s incredible power.
On the surface that might seem like the easiest path to victory for either fighter but Gane knows it’s much more complicated than that when he’s breaking down Ngannou as an opponent.
“This is not just only the power against the technique,” Gane said. “It’s not only the power he has. He has a fight IQ also. He is technical. I am more technical than him and I have power, also. This is not exactly the power against the technique but we will see.”
One thing Gane will concede is that he represents a new breed of heavyweight in the UFC, especially when looking at his speed, his footwork and the technique he uses inside the cage.
While Ngannou has definitely faced high level strikers throughout his career, Gane expects to bring a much different kind of fight to him when they finally clash on Saturday night.
“This is a new era in the UFC,” Gane said. “You have guys like Tom Aspinall, another new guy in this division, we are a little bit different. I think we understand something more and that’s why it’s going to be different.
“It’s not a disrespect for [Alistair] Overeem or Jairzinho [Rozenstruik], these are excellent fighters, too but this is really different.”