Ciryl Gane insists Francis Ngannou never scored a knockdown on him in sparring.
Gane and Ngannou are former training partners under Fernand Lopez at MMA Factory. Ngannou ended up leaving the gym and went on to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Meanwhile, Gane has been rising up the ranks and is the interim UFC Heavyweight Champion. The two will collide to leave no doubt on Jan. 22 in the main event of UFC 270.
Knockdown? Not True, Says Ciryl Gane
Throughout fight week, Francis Ngannou has claimed that he once knocked Ciryl Gane out during sparring with a left high kick. During the pre-fight press conference, Gane denied the claim but he did admit he was rocked by the kick.
“No, this is not the truth. Honestly, you know me already. With Francis, we did some sparring and it was a really great sparring from Francis. It was a beautiful left kick and the problem with Francis is he don’t like to spar, technical sparring. You like to make power and I told you a little bit a few times. So, you give me the left kick, you hurt me. You see I’m honest with you. You hurt me, you hurt me but you don’t knock me down. This is not a knockdown.”
Fernand Lopez also chimed in on Ngannou’s claim during an interview with Yahoo! Sports. He gave his own recollection of what happened.
“A knockdown is when a fighter is hit and he goes to the ground off his feet,” Lopez told Yahoo Sports. “A knockout is when a fighter is hit and blacks out. Neither of those ever happened, 100 percent no. What happened was, they were sparring and Francis threw a huge kick with his left leg that touched Ciryl. Ciryl got angry and said, ‘What the f*** are you doing?’ and wanted to go after him. I said, ‘Guys, let’s stop the sparring.’ Ciryl was really pissed off, but I thought it was best not to go forward, so I stopped the sparring for the day.”
Ngannou and Gane have denied having beef. Gane has said the issues going into fight night are between Ngannou and Lopez. He has admitted that he feels stuck in the middle and simply wants to do his job.