Undefeated in Muay Thai and MMA, Ciryl Gane first graced the UFC octagon in August of 2019. In little over 2 years, Gane has gone 6 more bouts, achieved interim champion status, and is headed into title contention with the current UFC heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou.
This level of progression is stellar, and what makes it more impressive is the level of experience Gane has. Most combat athletes at this level have been trained from childhood. Gane on the other hand has less than 10 years experience in both Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts; it’s astounding what he’s done in this time.
It begs the question:
What’s the ceiling for Ciryl Gane?
I think a metric of whether Gane is GOAT material is whether or not he dismantles Ngannou next year, but that’s yet to happen. We haven’t seen his limit yet, his striking was put into question when matched up against Russian giant Alexander Volkov, whom he dismantled. And his ability to handle power was doubted when paired against Derrick Lewis, in a fight Gane dominated to a brutal finish. Does this mean he picks apart Ngannou on the feet? He could just as easily see him clobbered in 19 seconds like Rozenstruik, who has had a fall from grace since being touted as an elite kickboxer at heavyweight.
We often see hot prospects rising through the UFC, but rarely do we see someone at Gane’s level, blazing into the ranks and destroying long standing UFC veterans without ANY hiccups along the way. It’s interesting to see how far he can take it, and a dominant victory over Ngannou and then some title defenses would solidify Gane in the GOAT discussion.
Why is Ciryl Gane so good?
Gane is exceptionally well rounded, and prior to his TKO finish of Derrick Lewis, he had a perfect 3 KO/TKO’s, 3 submissions and 3 decision wins. I think Gane’s most impressive and seemingly underrated aspect, is his insane cardio. I watched him live versus Volkov and more than once thought his cardio would surely give out at the pace he’s setting. No, it didn’t, Gane has 25 minute cardio for a 6’5 heavyweight, bouncing on the balls of his feet and setting a pace of which we haven’t seen from a heavyweight since the likes of Cain Velasquez and other cardio machines.
The level of striking coming from Gane is also super selective, efficient, and cruel. His game is one of reach and shot selection, which works in his favor when paired against typical slugger heavyweights like Lewis. A long teep and crippling roundhouse kicks to the body are his preferred weapons, but when it gets close he likes to mix is up with crisp boxing and beautiful clinch work.
In terms of his ground game, it’s something we haven’t seen too much of, but whenever Gane has been in a grappling situation, he’s dominated that facet of the fight as well.
Who stands a chance against Ciryl Gane in the UFC heavyweight division?
First and foremost, and the most obvious of all, is the ‘Predator’ Francis Ngannou. I think stylistically in their upcoming bout in January, the matchup favors Gane as the quicker, more efficient of the pair. Gane may keep Ngannou at length with his front kick, and won’t backpedal when Ngannou blitzes, instead opting to more laterally out of danger.
I think, of course, Ngannou always has that ‘f*ck you’ power, and could shut the lights off in the first 10 seconds! It’s simple, yet effective, neutralize the skill gap by making it non technical and bully with the power.
Less dangerous, but certainly in line for a title shot at some point is Tom Aspinall. The brit has fantastic boxing, speed and power. His boxing just seems to be a level above most opposition, who apparently can’t stand with the quickness and efficiency of Aspinall. I think this is less of a slugfest than the Ngannou matchup, and Gane is technically the more proficient fighter with a more rounded skillset.
Thanks for reading. What’s your opinion on Ciryl Gane? Does he get clobbered next year? Or is he the next great talent for the UFC? Comment below, it means a lot!