The next title fight will be on August 7, for UFC 265 and Derrick Lewis will take on up and coming Ciryl Gane to crown the interim heavyweight champion. The event will take place in Houston and more to follow on the main card.
It has only been just a few short months since Francis Ngannou was awarded the UFC heavyweight champion belt. However, Ngannou and the UFC have had issues agreeing to the next fight, so he is now left on the sidelines to watch this battle play out.
A Rematch Was Scrapped in the Making Before New Fight was Announced
Sources through ESPN and the UFC confirmed the news recently about the newest title fight. Originally, there have been talks of a rematch between Ngannou and Lewis.
Unfortunately for Ngannou and his team, the fight was never made official and thus it appeared that the UFC was going to contemplate this battle at a later date. However, both sides could not agree so the UFC moved on.
Lewis had already been promised an opportunity with a title shot against Ngannou or at least the chance to battle for the title. This surprised many that Ngannou would not be fighting to defend his title.
Lewis has looked great in his last four battles which include a heavy knockout against Curtis Blaydes back in February. The first appearance against Ngannou was victorious back in 2018.
There was no doubt that Lewis would be the next challenger to face Ngannou, but now he will face another top-quality fighter in Gane. If he wins here, it is up for debate that he could finally land the fight against Ngannou again.
UFC 265 | Gane Ready for the Challenge
Gane is coming off of a unanimous decision victory against Alexander Volkov recently at Vegas 30. Gane improved to a perfect 9-0 record, with six of those battles now coming in the UFC heavyweight division.
Interestingly enough, Gane had spent quite some time in his early years in MMA training with Ngannou while they were both in France. Now he has an opportunity to win his belt and potentially face him at a later date.
Complete Shock to UFC and Ngannou
Even though this is an interim champion battle, Ngannou will still hold the rights to his title and potentially battle the winner of UFC 265 at a later date. But one could argue that this is a tricky topic, especially since Ngannou and his team were ready to battle Lewis in August.
Ngannou’s agent, Marquel Martin, expressed an upset point of view from the team. They believed that they were ready and willing to make the fight happen.
Now, Ngannou will have to sit and wait for the winner of this event. Regardless of who wins this battle, you can bet that Ngannou is not going to take this situation lightly and that he will be very motivated to fight in the next matchup.