Exclusive: Fernand Lopez Shares Ciryl Gane Admitted He ‘F*cked Up’ Agianst Jon Jones, Reveals Opponent for September Return

Ciryl Gane's coach Fernand Lopez revealed his thoughts on what went wrong at UFC 285 and who could be next for his fighter.

Ciryl Gane
Courtesy of @UFCNews on Twitter

Ciryl Gane’s coach Fernand Lopez recently sat down with James Lynch in a MiddleEasy exclusive interview to discuss the aftermath of his fighter’s quick submission loss at the hands of Jon Jones.

Three years removed from his last appearance inside the Octagon, ‘Bones’ returned at UFC 285 to make his long-awaited heavyweight debut. Welcoming him to the division was former interim heavyweight champion, Ciryl Gane. The two men met in the main event of the evening with the vacant heavyweight crown on the line. Fans expecting a fairly competitive striking war were stunned when Jones managed to snag a guillotine choke in the early going and submit Gane just past the two-minute mark.

Lopez, the man behind Frances’ biggest mixed martial arts gym, MMA Factory, shared his thoughts on what happened that night.

“It’s kind of really hard to pinpoint what went wrong,” Lopez said. “I want to say that we need to accept that someone is just better than you and let that go. It’s hard for me to tell you exactly at which point. Obviously, we had that 90 seconds where Ciryl was in a bad spot and tried to defend. We didn’t have a good time trying to defend whatsoever. I don’t know what happened. I still [haven’t] figured it out. We’ve been talking, trying to debrief about everything. Talking like, ‘Okay, what happened? Is there anything emotional that happened between your walk to the cage?'” 

After trying to understand what exactly went wrong, Lopez realized that the best course of action would be to let it go. Accept that on that night, Jon Jones was better than Ciryl Gane.

“So what we did right after is try to figure out if there’s something wrong. Strategy, is there something wrong? We ended up just saying that, ‘You know what? Let’s just try to walk away. Try to train again,” Lopez continued. “Try to be a better fighter in all the areas. That’s it.’ Sometimes, we people tend to try to find who is at fault. Who did the bad thing and sometimes you just have to admit that… When you go for the Olympic games, you will only have one person win gold and then you will have silver and bronze, and that day, Jon Jones had the gold and that was very disappointing for all of us, including Ciryl.”

Immediately following the submission loss, Lopez reveals that Gane was understandably dejected and placed the blame entirely on his own shoulders. 

“He was very affected. As soon as the fight ended, he was like, ‘Jeez, I f*cked up. What just happened?’ It happens. No matter the people who try to criticize you and what was wrong with your wrestling. Actually, you know what? Curtis Blaydes is a good wrestler, but the wrestling does not help every time. You can train hard. You can train very good on wrestling, but you will always be under a couple guys in the UFC in the wrestling department. You need to complete that game. 

“We need to do that. We need to train on that so we try to do that right now. We’re just back on board, trying to figure out and train in all the areas of wrestling, grappling, and all the departments.”

Fernand Lopez Reveals When Ciryl Gane Will Return and Against Who

Fernand Lopez was also asked about Gane’s comments leading into the Jon Jones fight, suggesting that he only trains when there is a fight scheduled. Lopez revealed that there is some truth to the statement, but by Gane staying active inside the Octagon throughout the year, he typically only has a 10-14 day gap between training camps. 

“I did give an answer about that saying it’s something true. Ciryl wasn’t training out of the camp, but the reality is that Ciryl was so busy. If you take out the year of COVID, Ciryl is one of the most busy guys in the UFC so that means that he’s always training,” Lopez said. “Like, [before] he comes back to training, to a camp, to a fight, he will take like 10 days, two weeks, but then they’re announcing a new fight and we’re back to training.”

Lopez revealed that the backlash following his quick defeat at the hands of Jon Jones was made even more difficult by the social media backlash. Fortunately, Gane is surrounded by loving and supportive family members that helped him get through what was the biggest disappointment of his combat sports career. 

“That was a new experience for him and you know, the social media was tough on him,” Lopez continued. “So you learn that the hard way, but eventually… He’s fine now. He’s lucky because he’s surrounded by very good people. His family, they are very tied together. Very solid. They bring him a lot of love. His wife, his daughter. His father. Everyone is definitely tied [together] and I guess that helped for him.”

As for when fans can expect Cirly Gane to make his return to the Octagon, Fernand Lopez revealed that they are eyeing a date in September. Lopez also suggested a potential opponent, eyeing streaking heavyweight contender Sergei Pavlovich.

“Sergei Pavlovich would be a good opponent,” Lopez suggested.

Pavlovich is coming off his sixth-straight first-round knocking, having put away Curtis Blaydes just past the three-minute mark last month. Pavlovich finished both Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa in his previous two appearances securing his spot as the No. 2 ranked contender in the division. Ciryl Gane remains at No. 1.


Published on May 9, 2023 at 5:16 pm
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