There is a new legitimate title contender in the heavyweight division of the UFC. Despite only having nine professional fights under his belt, Ciryl Gane has dominated every opponent he’s faced. Not to mention he’s also beaten some very elite talent as well in his run to the top. Recently he had a dominant win against Alexander Volkov this past Saturday in Las Vegas, sweeping all but one round to one judge on the scorecards. Gane is already looking like he could be next in line for a title shot once Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis settle their business. But what has made Ciryl Gane so impressive in only nine fights thus far?
There are a lot of attributes that make Ciryl Gane as special as he is. But the biggest one so far has to be what most casual fans would consider his most boring, his conditioning. Gane’s last two fights have been commanding victories that have resulted in him sweeping the later rounds of the fight. This is key that he is experiencing this now rather than in his first title contender fight against a much more difficult opponent. He could have found himself in some deep water without that experience.
Another attribute that has given Gane great success is his technical striking. Gane does an excellent job picking apart his opponents especially with his lead jab, which showed against Volkov. Gane is currently the active heavyweight leader in the striking differential. Gane is also second behind Volkov in significant striking accuracy amongst active heavyweights. Finally, Gane is also third in strikes landed per minute amongst active heavyweights. Without a doubt, Gane’s accuracy is some of the best in this division, and the numbers back that up.
There are plenty of other attributes that make Gane look like a contender already. His versatility in finishes with three KO/TKO and three submission finishes can be a major advantage in a predominantly standup weight class. His wrestling defense has also been perfect, as he’s never been the victim of a takedown or bottom time. His athletic stance gives Gane the ability to give a lot of different looks. This allows Gane to switch back and forth between Orthodox and Southpaw. This showed during the Volkov fight as it gave him a difficult time to throw significant combinations because of his active switching and elite counter strike ability. The bottom line is that there is a lot that Gane can do and not a ton that he can’t do.
So what’s next for Ciryl Gane after last Saturday? Well, the division is in a very interesting spot. It looked like the promotion will be moving forward with Derrick Lewis as the fight title defense for Francis Ngannou. And while there wasn’t a date for that fight to happen, it is expected to happen before the end of this year. But it now sounds like the UFC will change directions and finalize a fight between Gane and Derrick Lewis for an interim title belt at heavyweight. A direction that has many confused considering interim titles are only handed out of the fighter can’t fight for a while. Khabib Nurmagomedov commonly experiences this because of Ramadan and fasting for the holiday. But giving one out after Ngannou has only held the belt for three months.
Jon Jones still fits into the mix of contenders despite not having a single fight at heavyweight yet. Jones and Gane could potentially match up for a number one contender fight. Jones tends to be picky with who he chooses to fight even when he isn’t the champion. Not to mention he’s also been dealing with money and contract issues with the UFC as well. Stipe Miocic also still fits into this situation. But it iscompletely unclear when he will come back and who that fight will be against. He has yet to fight since losing the belt to Ngannou back in March.
Nonetheless, Cyril Gane is one of the newer stars to follow in the UFC. He’s had about as perfect a start as possible, even without the finishes. He has still been able to move up the rankings with dominant performances. The Frenchman has turned a lot of heads over the last two years with his quick ascension to already the number three spot in a deep heavyweight division. He is already ranked above well-known fighters such as Curtis Blaydes, Alexander Volkov, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Two of those names he’s already beaten in superior fashion. Yet he doesn’t seem to be attracting as much buzz because of his lack of finishing in his last two fights. But it doesn’t matter, Gane is one of the fastest-rising fighters and it shouldn’t be long before he gets his chance at the belt. Remember the name, Ciryl Gane.