UFC 265: Ciryl Gane speaks about his rivalry with Francis Ngannou after beating Derrick Lewis

  • Tom Ward
Ciryl Gane's immediate reaction to his dominant win over Derrick Lewis at UFC 265 on Saturday night.

Ciryl Gane wants to put on a show against Francis Ngannou after knocking out Derrick Lewis in his most recent MMA fight at UFC 265 on Saturday night. 

The talented Frenchman (10) made his second trip to the Octagon in as many months when he took out the dangerous Lewis (25-8, 1 NC) at the Houston Rockets‘ Toyota Center in Texas. 

Gane and Ngannou were once considered close friends.

The pair came through the MMA Factory ranks together, with Gane regularly sparring Ngannou in the build-up to his fight against Stipe Miocic in 2018.

Just months later, however, Ngannou walked away from long-time coach Fernand Lopez, leaving his adopted country of France for Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.  

“No, for me, it’s just a sport, it’s just a sport,” Gane said during the press conference Sunday at the Toyota Center. “I just want to make a show, I just want to do a performance, this is my job, and I just want to make money every time.”

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Francis Ngannou

Where was Francis Ngannou born?

In his postfight interview in Houston, he also responded to a question about his performance against Lewis by revealing that he had to deal with blurred vision as a result of an inadvertent eye-poke during the fight.

“He touched me maybe one time, two times,” the 31-year-old added. “He gave me a poke in the eyes.

“My vision was blurring for all of the fight.

“It was not easy to manage this, but yes, I think it was a masterclass, yeah.”

Ciryl Gane pictured in action against Derrick Lewis at UFC 265 on Saturday night.

Gane’s confidence couldn’t have been more obvious when he took the fight against ‘The Black Beast’ on about two months’ notice and was willing to fight again only a few weeks after defeating Alexander Volkov at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

“The show was really perfect, the experience was really crazy, it was a great show,” he explained. “The feeling was exactly what we expected – exactly what we expected.

“That’s why he never touched me. He never touched me. Every time, maybe he landed 10 times, it was the right hand.

“He never touched me 100 per cent because we worked on it, because we expected it, we did it well.”

Ciryl Gane stopped Derrick Lewis with a flurry of ground-and-pound strikes

Gane said he was proud of his shock win against Lewis, but admitted the third-round stoppage victory hasn’t quite sunk in.

The 31-year-old Frenchman was taking a step up in class to fight former title challenger Lewis, who had only lost seven times in his career, for the interim heavyweight world title.

On Saturday, Gane outstruck Lewis by 96 punches, before stopping him with a flurry of ground-and-pound strikes in the third round. Gane’s striking accuracy was also 80% (according to data obtained from UFCSTATS).

“I don’t know exactly; a little bit strange, because yeah, like you say, but it looks a little bit normal,” he said. “I’m really thankful, I’m really happy, I’m really proud.

“This is not exactly for me. This is for my coach, Fernand Lopez. Everybody knows the story with Francis. He was really close to having the belt and unfortunately moved to Vegas.

“This is also for MMA Factory, my gym. This is also for the fans in my country and my family.”

Dana White puts the interim heavyweight title belt on Ciryl Gane after defeating Derrick Lewis

Gane, the newly-crowned UFC interim heavyweight champion, remained humble after claiming the gold-plated strap.

“I don’t want to say that because the champion’s still Francis Ngannou and I want to fight all of the guys on the roster to be the best,” he added.

“I think I need to prove for a few years, then after that, maybe I’m going to say I’m the best.”

Read more: UFC 268: Michael Chandler predicts he will ‘knock out’ Justin Gaethje within three rounds

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