Anaheim, CA — Needless to say, things did not go according to plan for Ciryl Gane at UFC 270.
The interim title holder was attempting to topple former training partner Francis Ngannou to unify the UFC heavyweight championship. While Gane (10-1) found success early, avoiding the champ’s power and arguably out-pointing him, Ngannou fell back on his rarely-seen wrestling, winning the fight on the scorecards in the end.
Following the bout, his first loss in mixed martial arts, Gane told media outlets including Cageside Press that Ngannou utilizing his wrestling did not come as a surprise.
“It was not a surprise. We knew already that was one of his biggest chances to win some rounds,” admitted Gane. “He did it, and he did it very well. So good job.”
The French heavyweight was clearly dejected following the loss, and even after a solid first two rounds, did not necessarily think he was about to run away with the fight, he recalled. “Not exactly, not exactly. I’m a little bit disappointed, I must do more. I didn’t, so unfortunately I’m a little bit disappointed.”
Asked whether he thought Ngannou’s power was fading in the later rounds, Gane replied “No, but you see, his prediction was he was going to knock me down in the first round.” That didn’t happen, said Gane, thanks to his own standup game. “He didn’t, because we are confident in my striking skills. But, but but but, he’s a warrior also, and he kept the way until the end, and he did very well.”
There’s a chance that Francis Ngannou’s time with the UFC could be at an end following Saturday’s fight against Gane. His contract is up, and a championship clause may only force him to stick with the company for the next year. Contract talks having seemingly soured, with Ngannou saying the UFC hasn’t shown him respect.
There’s a possible lucrative foray into boxing for Ngannou if he does opt to make his exit. Gane, however, is eager to run it back with “The Predator.”
“If he leaves like that, I don’t want that. I want my rematch,” Gane stated. “I want to do this fight a second time. I want this fight, I want this rematch.”
Watch the full UFC 270 post-fight press conference with Ciryl Gane above. More coverage from the event can be found below.