MMA Factory head coach, Fernand Lopez, has played a meaningful role in the development of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion, Francis Ngannou (16-3), and the division’s interim roost-ruler, Ciryl Gane (10-0).
Lopez serves as Gane’s current coach and Ngannou’s former coach. The two ultra-impressive Heavyweight strikers are on a collision course in the aftermath of Gane’s technical knockout win over Derrick Lewis (watch highlights) at UFC 265, which took place inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on Aug. 7, 2021.
In a recent interview, Lopez made it clear that he prefers not to hash up old things with Ngannou, but explained he was hurt that Ngannou did not give his now-former coach enough credit.
“Before going out with this, I went there to speak with Francis. Like Francis, is this normal? I was wondering is there any problem? We spent five years together in my gym. You never pay anything, everything is free for you,” Lopez told MMAFighting.com. “I took you under my wing, took care of you, everything. What’s so bad for you? What is so hard for you to say that ‘Fernand Lopez brought me the UFC contract.’ Why would you say to a journalist, they ask you how you got to to the UFC and you’re like, ‘I was just fighting, I was winning fights and I got the call from the UFC.’
“Is there something wrong cause do you remember the story?,” Lopez continued. “Do you remember me fighting to get you in the UFC when you were 3-1? Then Joe Silva said, ‘No.’ When you were 4-1 when you were 5-1 and I eventually called a friend of mine and [work] with him in order to get you into the UFC. Do you remember that? I called you and said, ‘Hey Francis, happy birthday,’ and I said I have a present for you and [Ngannou] ask me, ‘Oh you bought me the computer coach?’ And I said no, I have [something] even better than a computer. He said, ‘What is that?’ I said, ‘I have your UFC contract.’”
Ngannou parted ways with MMA Factory following his loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 in Jan. 2018 — a fight he avenged as part of Xtreme Couture in March 2021.
For complete UFC 265 results and play-by-play click here.