Ciryl Gane has his sights set on a third shot at the UFC heavyweight title, and said he plans on going straight past, rather than through, Tom Aspinall to get it.
Gane has had two shots at the UFC heavyweight title, and on both occasions, he fell short. But the always-smiling Frenchman said that his determination is stronger than ever as he prepares for another run towards the title.
Former interim champion Gane is the headlining star of UFC Paris, where he’ll take on Moldovan contender Serghei Spivac in a bout that will move the winner one step closer to a possible shot at the heavyweight crown. But, after twice tasting the disappointment of title fight defeat, “Bon Gamin” is staying focused as he looks to build an undeniable claim for a third shot at the belt.
“All of my career, I was in a rush,” said Gane, who recapped his rapid rise to the top of the UFC’s heavyweight division during a media day session in Paris.
“I started MMA in 2018 and I did my first fight after six months. Since this fight, I was already in a rush until today. So yes, I want to take my time now. I want to take my time at the gym.
“But I’m going to find some time without all of the things you have around the training and the gym. So, I don’t need to take my time in between two fights, I need more time. No, it’s about that. I need to manage my schedule without all the things you have around the fight, and like that we’re going to have time.”
Gane’s standout stand-up skills saw him catapulted up the heavyweight rankings as his impressive performances saw him take the fast track to the sharp end of the division. But, once there, the holes in his game became more apparent as he was outwrestled and outgrappled by both Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones in his two title fights.
It forced the big Frenchman back into the gym, where he’s been working tirelessly on that side of his game, which will be tested again this weekend against Spivac, whose smothering fighting style will offer a stern examination of Gane’s improved wrestling skills.
The bout will be watched from cageside by one very interested observer. Fellow heavyweight contender Aspinall has stated his intention to be at the Accor Arena on Saturday, and has already called for a fight against the winner.
But, when asked about a possible fight against the Englishman next, Gane was cool on the idea.
“The better way for me. No. This is not the way,” he said.
“The better way for me is to do exactly what we did the last years. To put a big message on this Saturday, and the message is, I’m still here. I want to go back to the belt. This is my better way to go – the shorter way to go to the belt.”