For the first time in his mixed martial arts career, Ciryl Gane’s image adorns a UFC poster. For the first time in his career, he’s in a UFC main event.
This in just a matter of years. The 30-year old French heavyweight, who got his start in Canada, only entered the sport of MMA in 2018. The following year, he arrived on the big stage. He hasn’t looked back.
“That’s just crazy to have my face on the poster. I’m really excited about that, I’m really proud,” Gane (7-0) told Cageside Press during a virtual media day this week to promote UFC Vegas 20, where he faces Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the headliner. “I can’t wait to do well this weekend.”
2021 has bore witness to a resurgent heavyweight division in the UFC. February alone has had three cards headlined by the big men, of which UFC Vegas 20 will be the third. Fresh blood in the form of fighters like Tom Aspinall and Chris Daukaus has given the weight class a boost, while Gane, Rozenstruik, and names like Alexander Volkov and Derrick Lewis, already established in the division, appear ready to take the reigns from the old guard.
Gane, for his part, recognizes that he’s close to reaching the top of the heap, alongside Rozenstruik. “I think the people are really excited about this fight. High level striking, and two young guys just arriving at the top of this division,” is how he described the match-up.
That high-level striking he mentioned would seem to favor Rozenstruik, with 80 or so kickboxing bouts to his name.
“He has a high level, he has big experience in the striking [department],” admitted Gane. At the same time, “I have a good background too. Now it’s MMA. A little bit different than 100% striking. Of course we can expect a [lots of] striking, high-level in this match-up. But I can do everything. Anywhere the fight is going to go, I’m gonna go.”
And if he comes out of Saturday night with his hand raised, Ciryl Gane is definitely game to make a quick turnaround — and serve as a back-up for Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou 2. That title fight takes place in one month’s time at UFC 260.
“I’m you’re guy. I’m you’re guy, of course! I’m in. You’re stupid if you say no,” Gane exclaimed when asked about the back-up role.
Watch the full UFC Vegas 20 (UFC Fight Night 186) virtual media day scrum with Ciryl Gane above. The event takes place this Saturday, February 27 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV.