UFC heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane says the UFC tipped him off about a potential interim title fight before he fought Alexander Volkov.
Gane defeated Volkov via unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 30 last weekend to improve to 9-0 in MMA and 6-0 in the UFC alone. The Frenchman said after the fight that he wanted to fight UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou for the belt next, but while that won’t happen, Gane was given quite the consolation prize. Instead of Ngannou fighting Derrick Lewis at UFC 265, Gane will now fight Lewis for the interim heavyweight title on August 7.
The news of the UFC creating an interim belt was surprising to many fans since Ngannou just won the belt from former champ Stipe Miocic back in March. While fans were surprised to hear the UFC was going in this direction — and Ngannou says he was also surprised — Gane wasn’t. Speaking to MMAjunkie.com, Gane admitted that the UFC tipped off his head coach Fernand Lopez about the possibility of getting an interim title shot against Volkov.
“We knew already because just before the fight (with Volkov), UFC sent a message to Fernand Lopez a message like, ‘Yes, this is the semifinal, so do your job, and we’ll see after that,’” Gane said. “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.’
“It was good because it’s good news, but I was really focused on the fight and no more pressure. 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.”
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