Francis Ngannou fights a battle on many fronts at UFC 270. Most visibly, the UFC heavyweight title unification fight against Ciryl Gane. Beyond that, Ngannou and his management may still be at odds with UFC president Dana White concerning a new contract. More personally, Saturday’s pay-per-view rehashes a personal fracture between Ngannou and his former camp at MMA Factory.
Ngannou vs. Gane headlines UFC 270, taking place on Saturday, Jan. 22 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. Ahead of the fight, Gane shared his reaction to the dissonance between Ngannou and the UFC.
“This is not my deal. For my part, I’m really OK with my deal with my management. MMA Factory did a great job with Dana White and the UFC. I’m really happy,” Gane told CBS Sports. “I can understand if Francis wants to defend his money. I can understand. This is human. Everybody wants more. That’s normal.”
Check out the full interview with Ciryl Gane below.
Much has been documented about the tension between Ngannou and his former home of MMA Factory. Gane refuses to feed into that narrative and will touch gloves with his opponent come Saturday.
“For my part, yes, I’m always going to be like that. I’m authentic. I want to give respect to anyone on this Earth. This is my mindset,” Gane said. “After that — no matter if Francis wants to keep this kind of relationship — when I jump into the cage, I’m going to do my job for the fans. This is a sport for me. Like a game. This is really like that. No more feelings beyond I want to win. That’s it.”
The UFC heavyweight division lacks a clearly defined next challenger after Ngannou and Gane unify the titles. Every contender ranked between No. 2 and No. 9 is either coming off a loss or has a one-fight winning streak. In search of a subsequent challenge, Gane looks beyond the heavyweight horizon at a divisional debut years in the making.
“Everybody knows Jon Jones wants to jump into this division,” Gane said. “This is a good fight for the money. Everybody knows that. I’m authentic. I talk like I think. So yes. Probably when I win against Francis, why not Jon Jones? I know the people want to see that fight because it would be a good match-up. He’s well-rounded and I’m well-rounded. It would probably be a very technical fight.”
Daniel Cormier, a former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, recently predicted that Jones would lose potential fights to Gane and Ngannou. Gane agrees with that assessment.
“Yeah, that’s true,” Gane said. “Today, we are at the top, myself and Francis. We are on the top because we are great athletes. My strategy is more technical. Francis’ is really powerful. It’s a problem.”