Ciryl Gane has a vested interest in the UFC keeping Francis Ngannou around.
“Bon Gamin” lost a unanimous decision to Ngannou in the heavyweight championship unification main event of UFC 270 on Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., which cost him his interim title and his undefeated record. With much of the pre-fight talk revolving around Ngannou’s uncertain contract status with the promotion, Gane made it clear that he hopes his fellow Frenchman stays in the UFC so that he can get another shot at him.
“If he leaves like that, I don’t want that,” Gane said at the evening’s post-fight press conference. “I want my rematch. I want to do this fight a second time. I want this fight, I want this rematch.”
Saturday’s headliner unfolded in an unexpected way as Ngannou took control of the fight in the last three rounds by using his wrestling to neutralize his onetime sparring partner. Gane said that Ngannou’s wrestling didn’t surprise him, though it wasn’t so much the technique behind the takedowns as it was the power that Gane struggled to deal with.
He also dismissed the suggestion that any pre-fight drama — including Ngannou claiming that he accidentally knocked Gane out in training once — had any effect on his performance.
“No, I was really focused on my mission,” Gane said. “All the stories around this fight were just stories and it was not a burden for me, I was just focused on my target. If we have a rematch, I’m gonna be focused, but I’m gonna improve on my weaknesses.”
“This is reality,” he added. “This is hurting me a lot, but it’s the truth and I hope tomorrow I’m gonna improve. I’m gonna do more to be a better version of myself.”
When asked when he’d be ready to fight again, Gane joked, “tomorrow.”
And though he is eager to book an Ngannou rematch, he has no issue with how the judges scored Saturday’s encounter.
“At the end of the fight, I knew already,” Gane said. “I’m really intelligent, I’m really aware, and I knew he won this fight.”