The UFC’s inaugural event in France concluded on Saturday night in awe-inspiring style, as Ciryl Gane saw his hand raised in front of a sold out stadium. All five French fighters picked up impressive victories, and Ciryl Gane brought Accor Arena to their feet with a 3rd round knockout over Australia’s Tai Tuivasa in the main event.
Sitting cage-side was none other than the heavyweight champion himself, Francis Ngannou, who started his MMA career in France before leaving to train in Las Vegas.
After controlling most of the fight early on, Ciryl Gane found himself facing extreme adversity in the 2nd round, as a big power shot from Tuivasa dropped him to the canvas. However, Gane rallied with a 3rd round stoppage, sending the French fans into a frenzy. When asked who he wanted next in his post-fight octagon interview with Michael Bisping, he kept his response short and sweet: “I want the belt, that’s all I want”.
In the aftermath, Francis Ngannou gave credit to his former foe’s performance regarding his ability to control the distance as well as mix in some heavy kicks to the body, which clearly paid dividends towards the end of the fight, but his final reaction was clear. During the post-fight press conference with ESPN, Ngannou stated; “Yes, he’s good, but I’m the champ. So really hard to be impressed. Great performance.”
It’s clear that the champ isn’t letting people forget his dominant victory over Gane back in January, where he surprised the world with his unknown wrestling abilities. After his win, Ngannou made it public that he was fighting with a torn MCL and a damaged ACL which could have been career-ending had he caused any further damage to his knees in their fight.
Considering his victory over Gane while dealing with a serious injury, it’s clear he does not lack any confidence when talking about a potential rematch.
Gane’s win over Tuivasa puts him back in the win column and retains his position as the #1 contender in the heavyweight division.
“The Predator’s” coach recently revealed what the timeframe is looking like for his return to the octagon, stating it will most likely be in early 2023. Ngannou is expected to face either Jon Jones or the winner of an interim title fight between Jones and former champion Stipe Miocic.
Following Ciryl Gane’s Saturday night victory, though unlikely, he could be next in line after Ngannou’s next defense giving him another chance at becoming the first ever French-born undisputed UFC champion. Many still believe that another win is necessary for “Bon Gamin” considering he is just coming off a loss against the current champ.