The upcoming Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane UFC heavyweight title fight is being targeted for January, according to Ngannou’s coach.
Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic back at UFC 260 in March to become the new UFC heavyweight champion. “The Predator” was expected to fight former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in his first title defense, but when Jones and the UFC got into a much-publicized contract dispute with Jones, the matchmakers changed gears to a Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis title fight at UFC 265 in August. However, that date did not work for Ngannou, and the UFC instead decided to give Gane the fight against Lewis with the interim heavyweight belt on the line, which Gane ended up winning via third-round TKO.
Both Ngannou and Gane appear to be fully healthy and both men would like to fight as soon as possible, but the UFC has the rest of its pay-per-views booked for the rest of 2021. That’s why, according to Ngannou’s coach at Xtreme Couture, Eric Nicksick, fans probably shouldn’t expect these two to fight before the year is up. Instead, the UFC is targeting January as the date for the title unification bout, but Nicksick says it could always change.
“We’ve been hearing January. But you never know, man. Like, the UFC’s always willing to throw you a curveball and then, ‘Oh, guess what? You’re fighting Jon Jones now,'” Nicksick told The MMA Hour (h/t MMAMania.com).
As for Ngannou, Nicksick said that the champ is continuing to train hard ahead of the fight.
“Francis (Ngannou) has just been in the gym training ever since. So he’s hungry. He’s motivated. I don’t want to put words in his mouth and say he’s disrespected, but the narrative I think is inherent that that’s how he’s going to feel. But for us, man, all the politics and all that stuff, you really can’t control [them], so I just feel like just getting your ass in the gym and working hard and good things will happen,” Nicksick said.
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