Fernand Lopez is ready to move on from his feud with Francis Ngannou and mend fences with his former pupil.
Ngannou trained with Lopez during his initial rise to title contention. However, after suffering a devastating loss to Stipe Miocic at UFC 220, 'The Predator' moved to Las Vegas and started working with Xtreme Couture. He then had an acrimonious split with the MMA Factory team.
The heavyweight champion's history with Lopez was one of the biggest storylines heading into UFC 270, with both sides going back and forth in the media.
The MMA Factory coach stated that he was ready to leave his beef with Francis Ngannou in the past. Fernand Lopez shook hands with his former pupil to put any bad blood between them to rest. While Lopez didn't have a chance to speak with Ngannou, he did interact with his camp, including welterweight kingpin Kamaru Usman.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Lopez said:
"I shook his hand. We spent like five seconds or maybe four seconds looking each other in the eye when we shook hands. But I talked for maybe five minutes with Marquel [Martin], Francis' manager... when Ciryl was in the medical check. And I talked also with, I hugged very sincerely Eric Nicksick... Also when I shook Kamaru Usman's hand, he said to me, 'Fernand, we're brothers. Let's stop this. Let's move on.'"
Check out the entire episode of The MMA Hour below:
Why Fernand Lopez asked Ciryl Gane not to target Francis Ngannou's injured knee
Word of Francis Ngannou's knee issues reached Ciryl Gane's camp shortly before UFC 270. However, Fernand Lopez was reluctant to trust the leaked information and felt that it could be a well-laid trap.
During his appearance on The MMA Hour, Lopez revealed that he told 'Bon Gamin' not to go after Ngannou's knee due to the risk of getting countered:
“When Francis Ngannou get inside the octagon, and I saw the two knee wrappers, I called Ciryl to come close to me. And I said to Ciryl, ‘Don’t fall to the bait. Don’t go there for the low kick. He will counter you. And don’t believe that Francis is hurt. Don’t go there. Don’t kick him, or low kick; he will counter you.' That’s what I said to him," said Lopez.
Lopez added that he didn't doubt the legitimacy of Ngannou's injury even though he was skeptical before the fight:
“On my point of view, the way that the information of Francis Ngannou getting hurt was leaked just few hours before the fight, I thought that was a bait. One hundred percent."