Francis Ngannou‘s coach knows that Ciryl Gane is a tough opponent for the champ.
A UFC heavyweight championship unification bout is on the horizon. Champion Francis Ngannou will be taking on interim champion Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 on Jan. 22. This is a very important fight for both men, but maybe more so for Ngannou. This will be his first title defense and could have a huge impact on his future with the UFC.
His coach Eric Nicksick spoke to Morning Kombat to break down what he feels is Gane’s biggest threat.
“I think his [Ciryl Gane’s] composure, I think his efficiency,” Nicksick said (via Sportskeeda). “I think efficiency comes to mind when I see him. I was more impressed with his [Alexander] Volkov fight than anything [else]. I thought Volkov was gonna pose the biggest challenge. I wanted to see what he did with Volkov and he answered all those questions. So, when I look at Gane, I see a very efficient striker, very fluid, light on his feet.”
Ngannou and Gane are former teammates and training partners. They are very familiar with each other’s styles. Lately, there have been some extracurricular headlines between the two. That tension is making for a very interesting road to the fight. Gane believes he knows what it takes to beat Ngannou. However, in that same regard, Ngannou and his team think they know the key to taking out Gane as well.
“Maybe try to get him out of his element in some regards,” Nicksick said. “Make it uncomfortable for him so he just doesn’t have that fluidity throughout his rounds. We’re gonna have to do some things to make him feel panicked and I think those are gonna be our biggest challenges to be quite honest with you.”
Gane is coming into this bout undefeated. He only began his professional MMA career back in 2018. He has won 10 fights in a row and has now worked his way up to the UFC title shot. His rise in the division is reminiscent of Ngannou, who won his first six in the UFC as a prospect on the rise. Ngannou lost in his first UFC title shot; will the same fate come to Gane?
Will Francis Nagnnou or Ciryl Gane walk away with the UFC heavyweight title around their waist at UFC 270?