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Ciryl Gane expects interim title shot with victory at UFC Paris, whether ‘it’s Blaydes, Stipe or Jones’

UFC 265: Lewis v Gane Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

Ciryl Gane is no stranger to substitute straps.

The power-punching Parisian previously held the interim title when current heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou was (sort of) slow to make his first title defense, but then lost any claim to the 265-pound crown when “The Predator” captured a unanimous decision victory over “Bon Gamin” at UFC 270.

Unfortunately for Ngannou, that performance ended with more than just the “W.” The Cameroonian crusher suffered a debilitating knee surgery that required surgery, as well as an extended time out. That means the promotion is likely to create another interim title and Gane wants a piece of the action after defeating Tai Tuivasa at UFC Paris on Sept. 3.

“I think if I win against Tuivasa, I think it’s gonna be a fight for the interim title against the winner of the next fight for the interim title,” Gane told MMA Junkie. “So this (loss to Ngannou) put me a little bit back, but this put me more challenge, so I’m okay. I’m a competitor, so I like that. It’s really complicated at the moment with this division. There are a lot of people in the top five and I think for the UFC to manage that it’s a little bit complicated so I can understand the UFC’s plan and I’m okay with that.”

Gane (10-1) is currently ranked No. 1 at 265 pounds, one spot above former champion Stipe Miocic. Rounding out the Top 5 is Tuivasa, Curtis Blaydes, and Derrick Lewis. Miocic has been loosely attached to a potential Jon Jones fight, while Blaydes is battling heavyweight upstart Tom Aspinall in the UFC London headliner on July 23.

Lewis returns against Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 277 in Dallas.

“I don’t know when the fight is going to happen between Jones and Stipe, but if I win against Tuivasa, I want to do a fight early after this fight for the interim title,” Gane continued. “There were a few months where it was a little bit like, ‘No, I want Francis.’ But I just want the belt now. This is my goal. I just want to go to the top and it doesn’t matter if it’s Blaydes, Stipe or Jones or Francis.”

Expect a completely different heavyweight division by the end of the year.