Ciryl Gane is not shying away from tough tests in the heavyweight division of the UFC and his first comes this Saturday at UFC 256 against former champion Junior Dos Santos. Gane, who is currently undefeated with an overall record of 6-0, understands just how important a win is in this fight against Dos Santos because of what it will do for his ranking and career going forward.
Not only would a win over a top-ranked opponent like Dos Santos give a significant boost to the standing of Gane, but it will also set up fights against others who are pursuing the heavyweight championship. Gane expects one of those fights to come against a former teammate in Francis Ngannou.
Gane appeared on a recent episode of The Bash MMA hosted by Petesy Carroll and Niall McGrath to explain why he believes a fight between him and Ngannou is essentially unavoidable.
“I think now, the division, for me, if I win against Junior, it’s going to be really close in the top 10,” said Gane. “You understand? So, we can’t avoid it. It’s something that will happen anyway. We cannot avoid that fight anyway. It just sports and that’s normal.”
The idea of former teammates fighting each other in mixed martial arts is not uncommon, so Gane is fine with meeting Ngannou regardless of their previous relationship that stemmed from their affiliation to MMA Factory Paris. The camp saw both Gane and Ngannou train together on a few occasions, but these encounters are not enough for Gane to outright forgo such an interesting fight.
According to Gane, the relationship between him and Ngannou sort of diminished once Ngannou moved to the United States.
“No, because when I arrived in the gym, in the MMA Factory, Francis lived already in Vegas,” said Gane. “I just saw Francis a few times when he come back to Paris to prepare for a fight. So, no. I’m not really close to Francis now.”
Although the fight may be a long way from being made official, Gane gave a preview of what it could potentially look like if him and Ngannou were to share the Octagon one day.
“Everybody knows the strength of Francis is the power and everybody knows my strength is I move a lot. I have the footwork, so this is a good match-up.”