Ngannou will make his first heavyweight title defense against Gane at UFC 270 in the first UFC pay-per-view of 2022. The fight will take place nearly a year after Ngannou earned the belt over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260.
Ngannou and Gane briefly trained together at MMA Factory in France, as the two were looking to build their respective brands in the UFC heavyweight division. While Ngannou has claimed that he and Gane weren’t exactly close, they had mutual respect for one another during their sessions in the gym.
After Gane defeated Derrick Lewis for the interim title at UFC 265, sparring footage of him and Ngannou went viral on social media. During a recent segment on his YouTube channel, Ngannou explained his side of the story regarding the clips.
“When I saw that footage, my first reaction was laughing. Because I know exactly what happened at those training sessions,” Ngannou said. “But this is the thing. When they want to like, do some highlight, they always choose the part of the video that they use. And they have a lot of videos like that because, at the time, they were filming our training session to promote him, his fight, and everything. So, there was a lot of footage from those few training sessions. But a lot of them never came out and would never come out. And I know for a fact that they will never come out.
“It’s about to make him look better and make me look bad, to prove that he’s the man.” (h/t Bloody Elbow)
Ngannou and Gane have had quite the buildup to their heavyweight clash. Ngannou appeared to snub Gane of a greeting backstage at UFC 268, which Ngannou later claimed was mostly due to his animosity for coach Fernand Lopez.
Gane has also downplayed Ngannou’s power in recent interviews, saying that he intends to manage his way through the champion’s barrage.
In the current times of social media becoming more prominent, leaked sparring footage is becoming more plentiful. Regardless, fans will make up their mind on the matchup when Ngannou and Gane go to battle at UFC 270.
Do you think it was fair for the Francis Ngannou/Ciryl Gane sparring footage to be released?