UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou has weighed in on the recently announced interim heavyweight title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane slated for the UFC 265 main event on August 7th.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report the booking of Lewis vs. Gane for the interim heavyweight title after the UFC reportedly attempted on numerous occasions to book Ngannou vs. Lewis, but scheduling conflicts forced the promotion to book an interim title fight in the meantime. This comes just two days after Gane defeated Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 30.
Many around the MMA community were surprised by the news regarding the booking of an interim heavyweight title fight, including Ngannou himself. He took to Twitter to give his up-to-the-minute reaction to the big booking.
“I remember my interim title fight against Jairzinho… Oh, wait,” Ngannou tweeted.
Ngannou gave a second reaction to the Lewis vs. Gane fight after ESPN’s Ariel Helwani pointed out that he fought just once between June 2019 and March 2021 leading up to his knockout win over Stipe Miocic to get the title.
“Nothing has been right here,” Ngannou said.
It was a long road for Ngannou to finally realize UFC gold. Before his knockout in the rematch with Miocic at UFC 260, Ngannou lost to Lewis by unanimous decision before winning four in a row by knockout en route back to the second title shot against Miocic. In their first fight at UFC 220, Miocic out-classed Ngannou after an early barrage of punches and earned the relatively easy win by unanimous decision.
Since earning the title in March, Ngannou has been on a carousel of potential opponents for his first title defense. It was expected that he would face former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones next before contract negotiations never materialized. Now, after a reported scheduling conflict, Ngannou will sit out and eventually fight the winner of Lewis vs. Gane at a later date.
What are your thoughts on the surprise announcement of Derrick Lewis vs. Ciryl Gane?