‘We knew already’: Ciryl Gane says UFC offered interim title fight prior to Alexander Volkov fight

Ciryl Gane knew well before the world that something big was coming his way.

The UFC heavyweight contender revealed the UFC had put on the table an interim title fight prior to his fight with Alexander Volkov in the main event of UFC Fight Night 190 this past Saturday. And like promised, the UFC followed through and scheduled an interim heavyweight title fight between Gane (9-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and Derrick Lewis (25-7 MMA, 16-5 UFC) to headline UFC 265 on Aug. 7 in Houston.

Gane knew going into the Volkov fight that a lot was on the line.

“We knew already because just before the fight (with Volkov), UFC sent a message to Fernand Lopez (Gane’s trainer), a message like, ‘Yes, this is the semifinal, so do your job, and we’ll see after that,’” Gane told MMA Junkie.

“I think it was an interim title shot, yes. But I’m not sure because they didn’t text with me. It was Lopez, and Lopez told me, ‘Man, do your job, and after the fight you’re going to be happy.’”

The booking of the UFC heavyweight interim title fight came as a surprise to many, as heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou had just won the belt from Stipe Miocic three months prior at UFC 260.

Many fans, pundits, and even Ngannou protested the UFC’s decision to implement an interim belt. Ngannou’s team claimed the UFC had agreed to have him return in September to defend the belt.

Gane said the news of a UFC interim title fight being on the line for his ninth professional fight did not put any pressure on him despite adding a more consequential layer to the bout.

“It was good because it’s good news, but I was really focused on the fight and no more pressure,” Gane said. “I just said, ‘Man, Ok, this is good news but I have to do the job before that, so stay focused on your job, on the fight against Volkov and after we’ll see.’ I was really focused, no pressure.”


Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2021/07/ufc-news-ciryl-gane-says-ufc-offered-interim-title-fight-before-alexander-volkov-fight

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