There was a day not too long ago when Dana White didn’t sound so hot on Ciryl Gane, the man who just became his promotion’s new interim Heavyweight champion at UFC 265. Following his decision win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik in February, White said, “This was Gane’s coming out party and his chance to show the world who he is. He won, but let’s leave it at that, he won.”
When asked about that statement at the UFC 265 post-fight press conference (watch it here), White basically called his former self an idiot.
“I got asked that during press day and apparently one of the guys was saying that I had said Ciryl was a boring fighter,” White recalled. “I don’t ever remember saying that. I don’t ever remember calling him boring.”
“Listen, if I said it, I’ll own it, but I think that this guy has a style — he’s a big, powerful badass heavyweight who moves like a middleweight. You saw tonight what he was able to do to Derrick Lewis. Completely shut him down. I don’t know specific numbers but it was in the hundreds [of strikes] and Derrick was like three [strikes]. He completely shut him down, put on a clinic, looked good doing it, made it look easy against a guy who can turn the lights out with one punch.
“This kid’s super talented,” White continued. “Listen, when you get sucked into listening to people talk about ‘you’re boring’ and you’re this and that, you’ve got to tune that s—t out and fight your style and fight the way that you fight. That’s what he did tonight.”
White made it clear that this was definitely more of a Ciryl Gane being amazing situation rather than a tale of Derrick Lewis sucking.
“Ciryl Gane was too much for him,” White said. “Ciryl Gane moves like a middleweight. His footwork is unbelievable. This guy stays on his toes the whole time, stays on the outside and picks you apart. He is a very talented fighter. His fight IQ is through the roof. This guy’s the real deal. Him and Francis is a bad ass heavyweight fight.”
Speaking of the increasingly frustrated Ngannou, White didn’t address the apparent rift between champion and company and promised the fight would come together fast.
“ASAP,” White said when asked for a date. “We’ll get it done as soon as it’s possible to do.”
With the main event turning out to be a tense battle ending in violent entertainment, White wasn’t afraid to declare his iffy interim gamble a success, especially when it came to potentially opening up a new region to the sport.
“We’ve been working a long time on getting France,” White said. “France is open now and we just got a TV deal in France. Here we are. What you always want to do when you either build fighters or build fights or put on fights is you want to have the best possible guys fighting each other that you possibly can. It doesn’t get any better than this. You couldn’t write it. You couldn’t script it. F—king Vince [McMahon] couldn’t have wrote a better script for this whole thing. It’s beautiful.”
The entire Heavyweight division is looking pretty good to White right now.
“The beautiful thing about this division is you have this fight tonight, now Francis vs Ciryl, and you got Jon Jones out there in 2022, and you got Stipe still out there too,” he said. “That means there’s a lot of fun coming up over the next year, year and a half.”
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