Ciryl Gane Set To Face Derrick Lewis For Interim UFC Heavyweight Title
Ciryl Gane has had a meteoric rise through the UFC heavyweight division, and that ascension continues in a big way with his next fight booking. Gane is targeted to face Derrick Lewis in the main event of UFC 265 on August 7 for the interim UFC Heavyweight Championship. Gane shut down Alexander Volkov in his most recent outing in the Octagon in a 5 round main event this past weekend, while Lewis is coming off a 2nd round KO of Curtis Blaydes back in February.
Many fans and critics see this as a strange bit of matchmaking. As a fight between top heavyweight contenders, it's certainly a good and logical one, and "The Black Beast" Lewis certainly deserves a big fight on this PPV, given his ranking and the fact that it's taking place in his hometown of Houston, Texas. The issue is with making this an interim title fight. Reigning champion Francis Ngannou only won the title in March. Per ESPN, this fight was made when Ngannou wasn't ready to compete in July or August. Interim title fights are typically made when a champion is unable to fight for a long period of time, and there's been far longer gaps between heavyweight title defences over the years.
Ngannou seems unhappy with this development in the division, Tweeting twice in the past hour. The first sarcastically reads, "I remember my interim title fight with Jairzinho... oh wait" while the second quotes Ariel Helwani, responding "nothing has been right here". In a statement to ESPN, Ngannou's management team expressed that this news was "a complete shock".
Speculation has begun on social media that this interim title fight has been made due to Ngannou recently making some comments on UFC fighter pay, questioning the disparity between what UFC fighters make in the Octagon vs. what fighters are making in boxing novelty fights, such as Ben Askren & Tyron Woodley fighting Jake Paul. UFC President Dana White has simply stated that he believes Gane & Lewis are deserving of a title fight now.
Any further updates or developments to this story will be shared here on The Arena.
By Mick Robson