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From Paris to the UFC, the crossed destinies of Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou


The fight at the top for the world heavyweight belt pits two old acquaintances who have passed under the expert hands of trainer Fernand Lopez.

This is the story of a tumultuous ascent to the heights.

Former training partners, Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane meet this Saturday in Anaheim for UFC 270, which will crown the new heavyweight world champion.

A match inevitably rich in emotions for the two fighters, as for Fernand Lopez, today trainer of Gane after having launched the career of Ngannou.

“I know that this fight is talked about, especially with the little stories that there may have been with Fernand Lopez and the fact that we were able to be sparring partners during a few sessions,

agrees Ciryl Gane


There's that and then the video where he doesn't say hello... so inevitably all of this creates media coverage.

“Good media coverage and storytelling for the UFC business, which likes to capitalize on the charisma and history of its fighters.

Read alsoNgannou-Gane: the shock of the UFC titans and a French pride

“Respect” between the two men

And the event that will pit the reigning heavyweight champion against the interim one ticks all the boxes, given the common history between the two men.

A story put forward on social networks, when Internet users published images of joint training between Ngannou and Gane, when the latter was occasionally sparring partner of the Cameroonian, already under contract with the UFC.

My first reaction was to laugh.

When they want to highlight something, they choose their images

, ”Ngannou reacted to images showing him at a disadvantage in the face of his sparring.

Before promising: “

I am the one who will put an end to the Gane hype.


To read alsoCiryl Gane: "If Ngannou does not touch me, it can become ridiculous"

Planted for several weeks, the scene was slightly appeased by a press conference without too much animosity this Friday in California. Apart from a small pass of arms about a supposed knockout struck by Ngannou to Gane in training, the two men especially showed a certain mutual respect. “

No matter what we say, we know each other very well and we respect each other

,” says Ngannou.

A common knowledge born of their passage through the expert hands of Fernand Lopez, boss of the MMA Factory, who does not steal his factory nickname from champions of the discipline.

A status gleaned at the start following the success of the Cameroonian, who went from the streets to the UFC after pushing the doors of the room managed by Lopez, who always welcomed him for free, a "zero file system" that he preserves today for people in need.

Dropped by Ngannou, Lopez rebuilt with Gane

But their paths abruptly separated at the beginning of 2019, after several estrangements, particularly related to money.

But not only.

At the MMA Awards in Las Vegas, Francis won KO of the Year on a combination I invented.

He thanked everyone except me

, ”recalls the one who shares Cameroonian origins with Ngannou.

Read alsoThe incredible odyssey of Francis NGannou, the former homeless man now UFC star

Marked by these internal quarrels, Lopez keeps fond memories of his collaboration with the "Predator". “

It hurt me, I learned to heal over time

, explains the honest veteran of MMA (10 wins-7 losses).

A lot of people don't know that, it really affected me. We often talk about physical violence but we must not forget psychological violence. When you give your all to a student and they constantly humiliate and put you down, you feel like your job is pointless


Today, Ngannou is reluctant to mention this common adventure and insists that "

Fernand Lopez knows nothing about (him)


And for good reason, the successful trainer is now focusing on his new foal, with whom he spins the perfect friendship outside the octagon.

Ciryl arrived at the right time

, savors Lopez.

He was my student, he became my little brother, my family.

We said several times that we love each other as if we were friends.

It also became a business partner.

We do everything together


Until reaching the roof of the world?

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2022-01-21

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