UFC welterweight contender Stephen Thompson says he’s never seen a heavyweight move as fast as Ciryl Gane did at UFC 265.
Gane debuted in the UFC as a 3-0 heavyweight in 2019. Despite lacking MMA experience, the Frenchman’s unbeaten Muay Thai background was enough to convince the UFC to sign him. Seven fights later and “Bon Gamin” has maintained the undefeated start to his career and racked up wins against the likes of former champion Junior dos Santos, knockout machine Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and experienced headliner Alexander Volkov.
At UFC 265 last weekend, Gane added heavyweight powerhouse Derrick Lewis to that list, and joined an exclusive club of fighters who’ve held UFC gold with an unblemished MMA record.
Gane’s unique heavyweight style allowed him to neutralize the powerful threat the likes of Rozenstruik and Volkov posed. In his third consecutive main event, he did the same against Houston’s own Lewis in front of a sold-out Toyota Center.
In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson discussed Gane’s victory and broke down what allowed him to cruise past “The Black Beast.” According to Thompson, the 36-year-old was clearly out of ideas during the main event fight.
“(Lewis) Couldn’t figure it out, and broke mentally. Me and Jens Pulver were talking about it, ‘Yep it’s over, it’s over,’ and before he even went out there and TKOed him, we were saying it was over. And we were right.”
“Wonderboy” added that he’d never seen a heavyweight move at the speed “Bon Gamin” did during his interim championship crowning last Saturday.
“I mean Ciryl Gane’s movement, played a huge part in this W. I mean, every time Derrick Lewis would throw a feint, Ciryl Gane was just out of the way. He was just so much faster; I’ve never seen a heavyweight move that fast before.”
Analyzing how Gane was able to create such a massive difference in striking numbers, Thompson later discussed the Frenchman’s movement during the fight, which is something he’s become famed for with his trio of five-round victories in 2021 so far.
“Can’t land anything on this guy. What was so crazy about Ciryl Gane and the way he approached this fight, (was) switching sides. That’s the first time I’ve seen a heavyweight being able to do that. What Ciryl Gane was doing most, number one, was his bouncing. The guy never stopped bouncing. Therefore, Derrick Lewis had a hard time knowing when Ciryl Gane was gonna come in and punch or strike…he was disguising that initial movement with his constant movement.
“And the way he moved, though, was legit. He moved in a way where he was always able to strike. You never saw his feet come together once during the fight… If he was backing up, he was backing up with his feet apart…he was moving forward, feet apart. He was always in position to throw a strike, which I thought was just, you know, striking level one million, right there,” said Thompson.
Thompson himself was last in action at UFC 264. In the PPV’s co-main event, he faced former title challenger Gilbert Burns. Having won back-to-back contests against Vicente Luque (who recorded an impressive victory at UFC 265) and Geoff Neal, “Wonderboy” had hoped to secure a meeting opposite welterweight king Kamaru Usman with a victory over “Durinho.” But despite having some luck on the feet, Thompson was largely controlled and fell to a unanimous decision defeat.
While Gane looks ahead to a likely unification bout against former teammate Francis Ngannou, Thompson will be looking to rebound and resurrect his title aspirations when he returns to action.
Do you think Ciryl Gane can become the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion? Or do you think Francis Ngannou will continue his reign with a victory over the Frenchman?