Whilst also marking the first pay-per-view of 2022, the January 22 card will feature Ngannou’s first title defense.
After tearing through Curtis Blaydes, Cain Velasquez, Junior dos Santos, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, “The Predator” had his second shot at Stipe Miocic‘s title. Having fallen short in 2018, many questioned whether the behemoth had made the necessary adjustments to battle the then-champion’s wrestling offense.
Those questions were resoundingly answered at UFC 260. After showing his improved takedown defense, Ngannou unleashed his power, and Miocic was sent to the mat unconscious during a wild exchange.
Gane, meanwhile, had his own strap wrapped around his waist five months later at UFC 265. Following main event triumphs over Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov in 2021, “Bon Gamin” dominated Derrick Lewis to win the interim title.
The pair, who are former teammates at Paris’ MMA Factory gym, will now collide in a blockbuster unification bout to open the promotion’s PPV account for 2022.
Ngannou Thinks He’s “Just Better”
Despite Ngannou’s dominant form and scary knockouts across the past three years, many believe Gane has the necessary tools to dethrone the Cameroonian. “The Predator” has witnessed his rival’s talent first hand and is not afraid of admitting the challenge he’s facing.
“He’s good and he’s just going to get better. He’s good. He’s talented, that’s for sure, and that’s the reason why he’s there, where he’s at,” Ngannou said on his YouTube channel.
However, while he’s happy to give Gane credit where it’s due, he simply believes he’s better and will have the necessary edge to get the job done on January 22.
“Right now? I’m just better, man, I’m just the man that’s going to stop the hype, and I can’t wait to get to this fight because what’s really funny about this is everybody that talks about this fight hypes him up.” (h/t Daily Mail)
While Ngannou’s hypothesis is yet to boast evidence, he’ll have the chance to provide some when he enters the Octagon with Gane at UFC 270.
With their awkward interaction backstage at UFC 268 and the ongoing remarks about the champ’s conduct while at Fernand Lopez’s gym, this heavyweight clash is certainly heating up nicely.
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 270, Francis Ngannou or Ciryl Gane?