Former interim champion Ciryl Gane got back into the win column last weekend in Paris by stopping fellow heavyweight hurter Tai Tuivasa. The victory was his first since coming up short against reigning division champion Francis Ngannou at UFC 270 earlier this year.
Unfortunately for Gane, who is looking to rematch “The Predator” at some point in 2023, the heavyweight division is stuck in a holding pattern until matchmakers figure out what to do with former champions Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic.
In addition, Ngannou is still healing from recent knee surgery, which may explain why longtime contender Curtis Blaydes, currently ranked No. 4 in the division after three straight victories, announced “I got next” on his official Twitter account.
Doesn’t sound like “Bon Gamin” is on board with that plan.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen exactly. People talk about Stipe [Miocic] against Jones, but I’m here,” Gane said at the UFC Paris post-fight press conference. “I don’t have a good answer [about who is next] – maybe Jon Jones for the hype, for the money. I think maybe Stipe or Jones [will be next]. I’m sorry, bro, if I have a choice, it’s not going to be [Curtis] Blaydes. This is not smart.”
Gane may not have a choice, depending on how things shake out.
Miocic is currently ranked No. 2 in the division, one spot above Tuivasa. That said, “Bam Bam” may lose some ground when the official rankings (see them here) are updated later this week and Jones is still campaigning for an immediate title shot against Ngannou.
Still lots of pieces to this 265-pound puzzle.