When Ciryl Gane arrived in the UFC, another behemoth from Francis Ngannou’s old MMA Factory gym in France, many people thought he’d be a similar sort of beast to “The Predator.”
Instead we have the anti-Ngannou in many ways: Gane is patient, measured, and highly technical. He’s got knockout power but seems more happy to pick apart his opponents over 25 minutes, which is what he did to Alexander Volkov in the main event of UFC Vegas 30 on Saturday night.
“I’m really happy,” Gane told reporters during the post-fight press conference. “Like I said, this one is a really tough guy, one of the best of the division. Taller, heavier than me. So I’m happy about this one … It was really more than I expected. Really more.”
This was Gane’s second five round decision in a row, but he’s not worried about the lack of a finish hurting his rep.
“For me it was a really great war, and like balance,” he said. “And I’m really happy about this performance. For me it’s one of the best of the division. Taller, bigger than me, it was a good little bit of striking. I’m really happy.”
In fact, the #3 ranked Gane thinks it’s likely he just locked in a heavyweight title shot with that win.
“I think today I proved it, I don’t need another fight for a title shot,” he said. “I think this guy Volkov was a really great challenge to prove it. So tomorrow, if the UFC wants to match me for the title shot, I’m ready.”
He’s also willing to sit on the sidelines if he has to.
“I think we can wait, this is gonna help us to improve in some departments of myself. So yes, we can wait. And I have a baby due next month.”
Asked about the history with current heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, Gane admitted it was something that made him hesitate to fight his former training partner. But with the belt on the line, it made the necessity of the showdown easier to accept.
“Now I’m comfortable about this matchup, if this matchup is going to happen,” he said. “Because it was a bit of a shame before the title. Now, for the title? I’m really comfortable with this situation, because we was born in the same gym. So now I am comfortable. If tomorrow we’re going to fight for the belt, this is beautiful for us, for me, for him, for my coach, and the MMA Factory.”
Time also probably helped … Ngannou and Gane haven’t spoken since Francis was training to fight Alistair Overeem back in 2017.
“We talk together, the last time was for Overeem, the fight for Overeem. Because he come back to France to prepare for this fight,” Gane said. When asked about their sparring sessions, Ciryl laughed. “This man is really tough! He is not a joke.”