Dana White: Ciryl Gane ‘Put on a Clinic’ Against Derrick Lewis at UFC 265

By Tristen Critchfield Aug 8, 2021

Ciryl Gane’s performance in the UFC 265 headliner against Derrick Lewis was about as flawless as one could get at the sport’s highest level.

The Frenchman chopped away at his opponent’s legs with kicks to hinder his movement before unloading with heavy punches to the head as Lewis covered up near the fence, forcing a stoppage 4:11 into Round 3. When all was said and done, Gane’s 98-to-16 advantage in significant strikes was the largest ever for a UFC heavyweight title fight. About the only adversity “Bon Gamin” suffered was a couple inadvertent eye pokes from his opponent.

“He touched me maybe one time [or] two times. He gave me a poke [in my] eyes. My vision was blurring for all of the fight. It was not easy to manage this, but I think it was a masterclass,” Gane said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference.

“The feeling was exactly what we expected – exactly what we expected. That’s why he never touched me. He never touched me. Every time, maybe 10 times, it was the right hand. He never touched me 100 percent because we worked on it. Because we expected it. We did [our gameplan] well.”

That it came against the UFC’s all-time heavyweight knockout leader made the performance all the more impressive. After five-round decision wins over Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik in his previous two outings, Gane showed that he has finishing ability, as well. The newly-crowned interim king certainly got the attention of UFC president Dana White.

“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,” White said. “This kid’s super talented. 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.”

Gane was able to move in and out with ease while switching stances and keeping Lewis off balance with a variety of kicks and punches. And when Lewis attempted to close the distance, Gane appeared to be the stronger man in the clinch. Lewis isn’t known for his athleticism, but his fearsome knockout power has allowed him to best more gifted opposition on more than one occasion. Not on Saturday.

“What tonight showed you and showed the rest of the world is how good Ciryl Gane really is,” White said. “…We all know who Derrick Lewis, he’s one of the best in the world. He’s been in there with guys that are great athletes, probably much better than him, should have beat him but he caught them. He caught them with that punch and ends up knocking them out.

“He couldn’t do anything in there tonight against Ciryl Gane. That’s how good Ciryl Gane is.” With his skillset, Gane appears to be a difficult matchup for most of the heavyweight division. First and foremost, is a heavyweight title unificiation bout against former training partner Francis Ngannou.

Ciryl Gane moves like a middleweight. His footwork is unbelievable,” said White, who hopes to book Gane vs. Ngannou as soon as possible. “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.”