PARIS – Ciryl Gane described Saturday’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones in Las Vegas as the biggest bout of his career and insisted he would “give a good fight” against arguably the biggest name in the mixed martial arts (MMA) world.
The fight for the vacant heavyweight title brings together two men from very different sides of the cage.
Jones, who is no stranger to controversy outside the ring, having been banned for his involvement in a hit-and-run accident and doping violations, is considered by many to be the greatest fighter in the history of the sport, having made his mark at the light heavyweight level.
Gane, a genuine heavyweight with the dance steps of a middleweight, insists he comes from a quieter end of the street.
“We’re completely different in terms of character,” the Frenchman told AFP.
“He’s a bit of a controversial person and I’m a pretty straightforward person. He’s more of a bad boy. But we’re going to fight, it’s sport.
“It’s the sport aspect that I put ahead of the other more personal things that I don’t care about.”
Gane also distanced himself from the American in terms of their fight game and experience.
“When he was already a multiple-time champion, I hadn’t even started combat sports yet,” he said.
“When I started Thai boxing at 25, he had already been a champion for three years, I didn’t even know MMA. I was just starting Thai boxing and then I switched to MMA in 2018.
“Our stories are really very different. He started very young, I started very late.”
Gane, 32, missed his first title chance in 2022 when he was beaten by Francis Ngannou.
But he bounced back strongly with a third-round stoppage of Tai Tuivasa at home in Paris last autumn, and has now been given a second bite of the golden apple – the undisputed heavyweight title. “This is without a doubt the biggest fight of my career,” he added.
The 35-year-old Jones has not stepped into the ring for three years and is making the step-up in weight but Gane does not see that as something that will hold him back in Vegas.
“He (Jones) doesn’t really have a weakness,” he said.
“He’s someone who is versatile and, more important, has very good wrestling skills, good cage management, good overall opponent management.
“So he is someone who has a very good ‘fight IQ’. My strong points will be my footwork, in the sense that I move a lot, I move more than him.”
Jones, meanwhile, said: “He doesn’t have much wrestling. He relies on evasion, trying to get away... I don’t think defensively, he’s a very strong kick-boxer. He has a really nice offence.” AFP