Fernand Lopez feels that it is time for him and his former student, Francis Ngannou to settle their differences and move forward.
Lopez will be cornering Ciryl Gane in the main event of UFC 270 this weekend for the heavyweight title against Ngannou. It will be the first time that he has coached against a former pupil of his in a title bout. There has been some tension between the two camps during the build up to this fight.
However, Lopez does seem to want to move on from the bickering for good now. He spoke with Submission Radio about where he stands on the rivalry.
“I’m totally sick of it,” Lopez said. “I’m tired. I can’t do that anymore. The problem is, being authentic is not easy to do. Whenever you’re authentic, you get in trouble at some point.
“I’m a father, I have two sons. You want me to tell you who is better than who? This gets me in trouble because the other son will say, ‘Oh you see, he’s trying to pin me down again, he’s trying to say (bad things) about me again.’ So, let it be.”
Backstage at UFC 268 was when the rivalry really kicked up. Ngannou dismissively walked past Gane, Lopez, and other members of the MMA Factory without even acknowledging them. ‘The Predator’ would go on to clarify that his beef was not with Gane but with Lopez over past disagreements when he was training there.
Still, despite their war of words with each other, Lopez would like to move on and become cordial once again.
“I don’t want to sound like the ex-wife who can’t let go because they split,” Lopez said.
“I’m really open to shaking his hand any time or talk with him any time, but I can’t work with him anymore,” Lopez continued. “It’s like you were working in a very complicated job, and you discovered how to work in a comfort zone, in the best comfort zone that you can have. So, yeah, I will not go back to work with Francis ever. But, I think as a gentleman, we should be able to say hello, how are you doing? That’s it, and be polite.
“We choose our friends, and you can be friends with this guy and not be friends with that guy. I don’t think we really can keep working or do any friendship. I think we just have to be polite to each other and be respectful.”
The full interview with Submission Radio is available below.