Watch: Awkward moment between Francis Ngannou and Cyril Gane as they cross paths backstage at UFC 268

Francis Ngannou (left) & Ciryl Gane (right)
Francis Ngannou (left) & Ciryl Gane (right)

The air at Madison Square Garden was heavy with tension and angst as Francis Ngannou, and Ciryl Gane bumped into each other backstage. The undisputed and interim UFC heavyweight champions shared a rather awkward moment after Francis Ngannou passed Ciryl Gane by without sharing any greetings or words.

Ciryl Gane was seen standing with coach Fernand Lopez and fellow MMA factory fighter Nassourdine Imavov who won his fight against Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 268. The entourage seemed amused by Ngannou's lack of acknowledgment.

Watch the moment below:

🚨 SCENES BACKSTAGE AT #UFC268. 👀🏆 @Francis_Ngannou & @Ciryl_Gane get a good look at each other months before their championship clash!

Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane are slated to butt heads in a title unification bout at UFC 270.

The fight against Gane will mark Ngannou's first title defense after recording a round two KO win over Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in March 2021. 'The Predator' finally accomplished his goal of becoming UFC champion after losing his first shot at the title against Miocic at UFC 220 via unanimous decision.

Why is there tension between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane?

The tension between the two can be traced back to the fact that Ngannou and Gane have both been trained under Fernand Lopez at the MMA Factory in Paris. However, some differences arose between Ngannou and Lopez after the Cameroonian moved to America and changed his gym.

Now, Lopez's latest protege, Ciryl Gane, holds the interim belt just months after Ngannou won his title, and the two are slated to go toe-to-toe for all the marbles. Gane's status as the interim heavyweight champion will have done nothing to ease the existing tension between both camps.

Francis Ngannou previously expressed a significant amount of disdain for the introduction of the interim belt to the UFC heavyweight fold while he was in shape to defend his title.

"I was there expecting to fight, and they just come up with some sort of interim title. That was very surprising because in the past we didn’t get an interim title, because Stipe wasn’t active and they didn’t even consider that at all. They didn’t want to talk about it," said Francis Ngannou (h/t: MMA Junkie).

'The Predator' also expressed his qualms with the introduction of the interim title with a series of posts on social media. Before the UFC set up a fight between Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis for the interim title, the UFC wanted to prop Francis Ngannou up against Jon Jones.

I remember my interim title fight against Jairzinho .... oh wait 🙄

The massive heavyweight clash between the two would have marked a landmark fight in the division. However, a dispute regarding compensation derailed the fight, making way for the clash between Gane and Lewis.

Edited by Avinash Tewari


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