Ciryl Gane may only have 10 professional fights under his belt, but fellow UFC fighter Anthony Smith believes “Bon Gamin” is the very best heavyweight in the world today.
It’s not a complete stretch considering Gane is 7-0 under the UFC banner and just captured the interim heavyweight title with a TKO win over Derrick Lewis this past August, but Gane still has a lot to prove inside of the Octagon. Luckily, he’ll have his chance to unify his interim belt with Francis Ngannou’s undisputed title at UFC 270 next month.
According to Smith, who serves as a UFC analyst while he isn’t preparing for his own fights at light heavyweight, Gane will handily defeat Ngannou when the two meet in the new year. Smith also believes Gane will eventually knock off former 205-pound king, Jon Jones, who is still plotting his own heavyweight takeover.
“I think Ciryl Gane is the real deal,” Smith said on SiriusXM’s “Fight Nation,” which can be seen below. “I’m making the bold prediction, I think Ciryl Gane beats Francis Ngannou, and I think he does it fairly handily. I also think Ciryl Gane beats Jon Jones.”
"I'm making the bold prediction that @Ciryl_Gane beats... Jon Jones"@LionHeartASmith gives his reasons why Gane will be the one to dethrone @JohnnyBones.— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) December 22, 2021
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“When Jon Jones finds someone who matches him physically and athletically, I think that then you’re going to have to check down on his list to skill and technique,” Smith said. “I think with Ciryl Gane, I think he loses that battle. I think Ciryl Gane matches his size and athletic ability, his speed, his movement.
“Ciryl Gane’s absolutely the better striker for sure. The little caveat there is if Ciryl Gane can defend a takedown, I think that he beats Jon Jones, and I think it’s boring. I think it’s a game of darts, and they’re just throwing darts at each other. I just think that Ciryl Gane is the higher-level striker. I think he manages distance as well as – maybe a little bit better than – Jon Jones.”
While some MMA analysts have zero fight experience to fall back on Smith has actually gone 25 full minutes with Jones, who many consider to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA history. Jones ended up defeating Smith in a lopsided title defense, but the time spent in the cage has afforded “Lionheart” a special type of insight into the capabilities of “Bones.”
Smith believes he saw enough in his own fight to know what Gane has to do against Jones to be victorious. Of course, every fight is different, but maybe Smith’s analysis does hold some weight.
“Being in there with Jon Jones for 25 minutes, I was expecting some power wrestler that I was going to really struggle with,” Smith said. “He shot 10 takedowns, and I stuffed eight of them. I wasn’t like a Division I wrestler. I just was able to manage that wrestling.
“Once we got into the clinch, that’s when I started having problems because his arms are long. He is deceptively strong. The clinch game is going to be a little funky with those guys, but if they’re just at a distance and Jon Jones plays his game, I think he loses at his own game there.”
What do you think, Maniacs? Does Gane have what it takes to defeat Ngannou at UFC 270 and then Jones later in 2022?
Let’s hear it!