MMA will finally be legal in France on January 1 of the New Year.
It’s going to be a huge step for France and for larger Europe, as a lot of young, talented fighters can finally pursue a professional career as an MMA fighter in their own backyards.
That hasn’t been always the case though. French fighters have historically had to compete elsewhere, far from home, far from their local fans. That’s the story of Ciryl Gane (4-0, 1-0 UFC), a deadly French heavyweight who recently debuted in the UFC.
Gane’s professional MMA career prior to his move to the UFC was spent with French-Canadian MMA promotion TKO. He was able to collect the promotion’s heavyweight belt in his first fight, back in 2018, and defended it twice in the span of just 10 months.
With a perfect record of 3 victories and no losses, “Bon Gamin”, then managed to get the most desired ticket in MMA: a UFC contract.
“I know UFC heavyweight roster is not that deep” Ciryl Gane told BJPENN.com “But it’s not the only reason [if I got signed]. I’m a fast learner, I’m like a sponge, I learn in a very quick way. So there is that. Plus my management, Management Factory, did a very good job in order to get me signed”.
Although Gane is new to the MMA game, he’s not a rookie in terms of combat sports. He’s competed in both Muay Thai and kickboxing in the past.
“To be honest it wasn’t that easy to switch from Kickboxing and Muay Thai to Mixed martial arts,” Gane said. “The most difficult thing to manage was the distance part. I mean, in those sports you can afford to go forward, to chase your opponent but you can’t do that all the time in MMA since you expose yourself to level changes, to takedowns.”
Looking at his record you can surely tell that switch went quite well for him. In his first four fights, he’s won two bouts by TKO or KO, and two by submission.
“I’m not an easy fighter [to beat],” he said. “With my skills, I’m sure I can be a threat to everyone in the division”.
Bon Gamin, which means “Good Kid” in French, is going to welcome Don’Tale Mayes (7-2) this weekend at UFC Singapore.
“I’m definitely ready for this fight but, at the same time, I’m not going to underestimate my opponent just because he’s at his UFC debut,” Gane said. “He has more experience than me and I know for sure it won’t be an easy fight”.
During an interview with MMA Fighting’s Peter Carroll, coach Fernand Lopez said Ciryl Gane was born ready; that “the kid has something.”
Gane is happy to have the confidence of his coach.
“My coach believes in me and I do feel the same way” the Frenchman told BJPENN.com. “I’m gonna be the next big thing in the heavyweight division”.
In order to do that, though, he’s going to have to face a lot of tough opponents first and one of those could be his friend and former teammate Francis Ngannou. He’d prefer not to fight his fellow Frenchman, but would do so under the right circumstances.
“If I won’t have any other choice I’ll fight him,” Gane said. “Say he has the belt and I’m the next in line for a title shot. If I’m chasing the belt, of course, I’m going to fight him. It’s a sport. It’s nothing personal. After that, I would train with him again without any problems. Anyway, I need to rack up a few other victories before thinking about that scenario”.
Since we have to wait a while before that hypothetical bout to happen, it’s not that impossible we could see it happen in France down the road. As mentioned before, MMA will be legally accepted as a proper sport in France as soon as 2020 begins.
UFC brass, in fact, already stated that they are going to host an event in Paris by the end of next year.
“It’s finally official,” Gane said. “The UFC is coming to France. I’ve been looking for that for a very long time now. We have tons of very talented fighters here, especially in our gym. I mean, Taylor Lapilus, Rizlen Zouak, Nassourdine Imavov, Mehdi Ben Lakhdhar, Samir Faiddine (the current Cage Warriors flyweight champion), they are all UFC material. I’m looking forward to seeing them debuting at the first UFC event in Paris. Also, I want and I know I can headline it. I’m really expecting it to happen”.
With an impressive win in Singapore, Gane could really start climbing the heavyweight ladder. Do you think we’ll see him headlining the UFC’s debut in France next year?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/22/2019.