Ciryl Gane says UFC offered interim title fight prior to Alexander Volkov fight
Ciryl Gane had one of the most important fights of his career last weekend. Before anyone else, Cyril Gane knew that this fight was going to bring something big his way.
Gane fought Alexander Volkov last weekend and won via a unanimous decision. After the fight, Gane revealed that even before the fight, the UFC had put an interim title fight for the winner. And as promised, the UFC delivered. It was announced that Ciryl Gane will fight Derrick Lewis for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 265 on Aug. 7 in Houston.
Though Gane made it look easy, there was a lot on the line in his fight with Volkov. While talking to MMA Junkie, Gane said; “We knew already because just before the fight UFC sent a message to Fernand Lopez (Gane’s trainer), a message like, ‘Yes, this is the semifinal so do your job, and we’ll see after that,’”
“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.”
The creation of an interim title at heavyweight came as a shock to many people, considering that Ngannou just won the belt three months ago, and there is no news of any injuries or other factors that may delay a title defense.
Many fans and even Ngannou himself protested the decision. In fact, Ngannou’s team claimed the UFC had agreed to have him return in September for his first title defense. I believe that this decision was made to force Ngannou to fight the winner of Lewis vs Gane.
Ngannou was looking for a fight against Jones, which is the better option financially. However, if there is an interim champion, he has to unify the titles before demanding other opponents.
When asked how the news of an interim title fight being on the line affected him, Gane said he didn’t feel any pressure, despite the higher stakes. He said; “It was good because its 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.”