Ciryl Gane reacts to backstage snub from UFC heavyweight rival Francis Ngannou

Ciryl Gane reacts to backstage snub from UFC heavyweight rival Francis Ngannou

Ciryl Gane has admitted he was disappointed when Francis Ngannou snubbed his handshake backstage at UFC 268.

The French star will challenge for Ngannou’s heavyweight title at UFC 270 in January next year after asserting his status as the division’s leading contender.

Tensions are currently high between the pair as Ngannou remains embroiled in a dispute with Gane’s head coach Fernand Lopez, whom he worked with in Paris during his early rise to fame.

Ngannou snubbed a handshake with Gane in Madison Square Garden as the pair came face-to-face for the first time.

But the 31-year-old challenger has refused to get sucked into any added drama despite branding his rival’s affront “unnecessary”.

Gane told MMA Junkie : “Why? Just why? It was not necessary, but it’s like that. Some people think differently than me. Some people are different. So for me, it was not necessary. But he did it. This is his story, so that’s it.

“I’m surprised because maybe he has something against me, maybe he has something against his former coach, Fernand Lopez, but Nassourdine Imavov?

“Nassourdine Imavov just finished his fight, and he won, and in MMA Factory, maybe Imavov was Francis’ biggest sparring partner.

“So Fernand, ok. Me, I’m the future opponent, ok. But Nassourdine Imavov, it’s a little bit of a shame.”

Ngannou brushed past the Frenchman stood with Imavov who was fresh from defeating Edmen Shahbazyan with a ground-and-pound stoppage.

And this is largely due to a narrative present in the build-up to the heavyweight showdown that the pair are ex-teammates who are now enemies.

Gane is undefeated during his UFC career winning all of his seven bouts including a dismissive victory over Derrick Lewis in August.

But he is fully focused on reaching the pinnacle of the sport as world champion and is uninterested in creating a rivalry with Ngannou.

Who will win at UFC 270 in December- Francis Ngannou or Cyril Gane? Let us know your prediction in the comments section.

“At first, I was a little bit uncomfortable with that because too many people try to put me in the headlines like, ‘The guy with the revenge,’ but this is not my story,” Gane continued.

“Let me do my thing, and I’m comfortable with that. When I started my career in the UFC, maybe my first three fights after every fight, the journalists talk about that: ‘And Francis and Francis.’

“Stay focused on me please. I have just arrived; I’m gonna do my thing. Francis was already in the top five, so this is the feeling.”

Ngannou has been awaiting a shot at Jon Jones for the heavyweight title but is now settling for the challenge of Gane.

And with his contract dispute unsettled with the UFC, Ngannou has continued to show his disgruntlement at the career earnings he has accumulated.

With Tyson Fury having earned a guaranteed $6million from his boxing trilogy bout with Deontay Wilder, Ngannou has hinted at a switch to boxing with his future up in the air.

“Well, it [MMA] is more difficult [than boxing]. But I feel I should not be needing to borrow money for my training camp,” Ngannou told the MMA Hour.

“”At some point, I’m gonna go after the money. I’m going to to that boxing for sure. I’m not challenging the system, I’m just saying my right.”

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