Francis Ngannou says it’s ‘hard to be impressed’ by Ciryl Gane: ‘He’s good, but I’m the champion’
Ciryl Gane pulled off a stunning knockout of Tai Tuivasa to crown UFC Paris – but don’t expect Francis Ngannou to praise it too much.
The UFC heavyweight champion sat cageside for the promotion’s first-ever event in France, and even he was impressed with the fight’s conclusion after Gane blasted Tuivasa with a barrage of punches. fist to mark the finish after a mad battle back and forth. through three rounds. You can see Ngannou’s reaction to the ending above.
That said, Ngannou recalls that he just beat Gane quite one-sidedly last January. He’ll give credit where credit is due, but he can only rave about his former sparring partner.
“Well, I know he’s a great fighter,” Ngannou said of Gane on ESPN’s post-fight show after UFC Paris. “It’s hard to answer that question for a guy I beat if I’m impressed with him. I mean he’s here for a reason. I fought him for a reason, because he’s the #1 contender.
“Yes, he is good, but I am the champion. So really hard to be impressed. Good performance.”
Ngannou’s reaction comes after Gane nearly suffered a second-round knockout when Tuivasa bludgeoned him with a punch that knocked the former interim heavyweight champion to the canvas.
Just when it looked like Tuivasa might pull off the upset, Gane recovered and then began unleashing a series of body kicks that completely changed the momentum of the fight. Eventually Gane connected with the punches that put Tuivasa away which put him back in the win column after falling to Ngannou in a losing bid to become the undisputed heavyweight king.
“That fight was very electric, though,” Ngannou said of Saturday’s main event. “It was a good move in the fight and then at one point you see the fight was half and half and then he came back to Ciryl’s side, that’s what I thought.
“Because as far as distance goes, he’s good at controlling that and he was able to apply that in the fight tonight. You can see the body kicks, that’s what got him the win. He [had a strategical]technical type of a fight.
Even with the win, it seems unlikely that Gane will get an immediate shot at Ngannou given that they fought eight months ago. Still, the knockout definitely puts “Bon Gamin” back in the hunt for another title.
As for what’s next for Ngannou, that remains to be seen as he continues to recover from knee surgery following his win over Gane. Prior to UFC 270, he suffered a torn ACL, which required him to undergo reconstructive surgery and will likely keep him out for the rest of the year.
Add to that, Ngannou is set to become a free agent in 2023 after battling his current deal with the UFC, although the two sides are still expected to remain in communication over a potential deal for a new contract.
“I have no whispers [about what’s next] at the moment because I don’t have a timetable for the return,” Ngannou said. “I’m going to see the doctor, I think, in a week. I’m following up with the doctor to have them check and see how it’s going.
“But it’s going pretty well, but you have to give it time. It’s not like it’s going to be great. It’s been five months, so have a little more time.