For a wide variety of reasons, Ciryl Gane is not the average UFC Heavyweight.
First and foremost, Gane doesn’t fight like a typical slugger. The French athlete makes the most of his Muay Thai background and athleticism, the combination of which has resulted in a fleet-footed style of kickboxing that routinely frustrates his opposition. Gane doesn’t try to force the finish, but he pretty consistently dominates — and still stops his opponent more often than not!
Against Heavyweight kingpin Francis Ngannou, Gane’s movement-based Muay Thai served him well in the early rounds, building a lead on the scorecards. However, when Ngannou flipped the script and started scoring takedowns, Gane fell behind and was unable to pull the momentum back to his corner. As a result, he suffered the first defeat of his young professional career.
Tonight (Sat. Sept. 3, 2022), Gane will attempt to rebound opposite the heavy-handed Tai Tuivasa in the main event of UFC Paris. Earlier this week, Gane spoke about the lessons he learned from his first loss, and the level-headed striker pointed to maturity as his primary lesson.
“Maturity,” Gane explained at Thursday’s media day (via MMA Junkie). “I won every fight I did, and I was really flawless, not because it was easy, but you’re flawless. The loss puts some questions in your head and you must have some answers. So this put more maturity in (my) head.”
In addition, Gane talked a bit about the technical adjustments to make. After the Ngannou loss, he expects other fighters to try to take him down. However, Gane blames those takedowns on his footwork, which he also believes has improved since that contest.
“The fight against Francis may have given some ideas to other fighters,” Gane said. “But if we were to re-examine the fight against Francis, and I was asked what I errors I may have made, I would say that I didn’t apply my footwork the way I usually do. That’s the reason he managed to surprise me on two or three occasions during the fight. So no, I don’t have this fear, but I’m saying that it may have given some ideas to certain people. But now my footwork will be better than it ever was.”
For my money, footwork and maturity have long been strengths of “Bon Gamin,” so if Gane can live up to his word and improve those areas further, the former interim champ is primed for a major comeback.
We’ll find out tonight.