Ciryl Gane, who is aiming for the UFC heavyweight belt at 32 on Saturday in Las Vegas, faces a fighter considered an MMA legend in the person of 35-year-old Jon Jones. “Fighting someone of this caliber is not common,” he admits in an interview with AFP.
Q: You’re up against an MMA icon in Jon Jones. What will be the key to the fight?
A: “It is undoubtedly the biggest fight of my career and I also think for French MMA. Someone of this caliber, it is not common, that’s for sure (…) He will bet a lot on his wrestling, he’s a very great wrestler. He has a background as a wrestler before MMA, so it’s something that’s in his DNA, that comes out automatically. Will he do that? “No, I don’t think so, he’s going to try to vary, he’s a versatile person. In any case, we also put a lot of focus on wrestling.”
Q: Looks like he has no weaknesses. How can you put him in danger?
A: “He doesn’t really have a weak point. He is someone who is versatile and above all who has a very good fight, good management of the cage, good overall management of the opponent. So it’s someone who has a very good +fight IQ+ (tactical intelligence) but I also have a very good +fight IQ+ Me, on my side, my strong points, it will be my +footwork+ (footwork) in the sense that I move a lot, I move more than him. It’s his first experience in the heavyweight category, so maybe that too can be to my advantage.”
Q: Jon Jones is considered one of the most talented fighters in MMA history. Was he a role model for you?
A: “No not at all, I’ve never had a role model. The only role models I have are people I observe all day long, they are my teammates. They are the ones I use as my models, who inspire me. Afterwards, it’s true that Jon Jones overall has a style that suits me in the sense that I like versatile people, and he is one of them. So he’s someone who is when even quite inspiring, but for all that we don’t have the same style at all.”
Q: How are your backgrounds different?
A: “When he was already a multiple-time champion, I hadn’t even started combat sports yet. When I started Thai boxing at 25, he had already been a champion for three years, I didn’t even know MMA. I was just starting Thai boxing and then I switched to MMA in 2018. Our stories are really very different, he started very young, I started very late.
Q: Your personalities seem totally opposite as well…
A: “Yes, we’re completely different in terms of character. He’s a bit controversial person and me for once a fairly tidy person (laughs). He’s more of a + bad boy +. But we’re going to fight, c It’s sport. It’s the sporting aspect that I put forward, even before putting the experience and the intimate things of the person, that I don’t care a bit. In the cage, you don’t fit with weapons, we come in with our fists and our feet and that’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to give a good fight.”
Interview by Diane FALCONER