AKA coach Javier Mendez gives his thoughts on what added skills Ciryl Gane needs to beat Francis Ngannou

Javier Mendez, Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou (L to R) via Instagram @akajav, @ciryl_gane and @francisngannou
Javier Mendez, Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou (L to R) via Instagram @akajav, @ciryl_gane and @francisngannou

Ciryl Gane recently put on a flawless performance against Derrick Lewis in the main event at UFC 265. Gane picked 'The Black Beast' apart before finishing him in the third round via TKO to be crowned the UFC interim heavyweight champion.

Ciryl Gane is now likely to face UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in his next outing. Head coach at the American Kickboxing Academy, Javier Mendez, recently revealed his strategy if he were to coach Gane in a fight against Ngannou.


While attending a Q&A session, Mendez was asked if he would implement any wrestling in Ciryl Gane's game or let the Frenchman stick to his exceptional standup.

While Javier Mendez acknowledged Gane's striking acumen, he would also like to incorporate a bit of wrestling for a fight against the UFC heavyweight champion. Regarding the hypothetical scenario of coaching Ciryl Gane, Javier Mendez said:

"I would definitely implement the wrestling to his (Ciryl Gane's) great standup game. I wouldn't change anything on the standup. The guy's got it down right for what he likes. Bit I would definitely implement some wrestling in that strategy because I think that's the smartest route to go with (Francis) Ngannou."

Although primarily a striking coach, Javier Mendez is no stranger to a wrestling-heavy approach. His gym AKA boasts grappling legends like former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, former two-division UFC champion and Olympian Daniel Cormier and former UFC lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou were teammates

Ciryl Gane has opened up as a favorite against Francis Ngannou for their upcoming title unifier. Interestingly, both Gane and Ngannou used to train at the MMA Factory in France and were groomed by the same coach, Fernand Lopez.


While Gane continues to train out of France, Ngannou relocated to Las Vegas a few years back and now trains out of Xtreme Couture. While Ciryl Gane and Francis Ngannou have sparred as partners, 'Bon Gamin' won't rely on that experience in their upcoming fight.

Acknowledging the difference between training and fighting, Ciryl Gane told reporters at the UFC 265 post-fight presser:

"Training is something, but the fight is another thing. (I will) not (be) surprised – everyone knows Francis’ strengths. Everyone knows my strengths. We’ll see.”

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Edited by John Cunningham
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