Training together with the same coach doesn’t mean that you are friends. The Cameroonian immigrant was brought up in the world of MMA by Fernand Lopez. Gane and Ngannou trained together for few times at MMA Factory Paris. Everything was on good terms. Ngannou climbed the ladder to the top. However, things turned around after The Predator lost his bout against Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title at UFC 220. Ngannou and Lopez had an exchange of words which resulted in Ngannou joining Xtreme Couture in 2018. After joining Xtreme Couture, Ngannou reached new heights by winning the title against Miocic at UFC 260.
Only 4 months after Ngannou knocked out Miocic the UFC would request he fight again. Fans pined for Jon Jones vs Ngannou. UFC wanted it. Even Dana White wanted it – but it didn’t happen. Largely due to the unwillingness to pay for it to happen. First there was a dispute about Jones’ pay but pretty soon Ngannou would also be targeted by the UFC. Once Ngannou decided to take the belt back to Cameroon – and take it easy for a bit UFC retaliated by booking a interim title fight between Cyril Gane and Lewis.
Ngannou was dismayed with this decision. The Predator’s management shared their concerns but UFC didn’t relent.
Ngannou pointed out that he wasn’t awarded an interim championship bout with Rozenstruik at UFC 249 when Miocic was out for nine months. Ngannou was also being stingy about mentioning his coach Lopez contribution to the training that led to the title. This all lead to this glorious moment where Ngannou snubbed former teammate, former coach and his next opponent.
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At UFC 268, Ngannou ignored Gane who was with his former coach Lopez backstage at MSG. Lopez appeared to be laughing with his teammates at his action while Gane was surprised as he was expecting some acknowledgment from the champion. Gane is the kind of guy who wants to make his legacy, not based on one major fight. He is there to do his job and he fights whoever UFC says.
Still, the drama will come to an end when both Gane and Ngannou will be caged for title unification bout on 23 January 2022.