This past Saturday night in the headliner of UFC 285, the heavyweight title was on the line. Former light heavyweight champion and all time great Jon Jones (27-1, 1 NC) was making his highly anticipated heavyweight debut against former interim champion Ciryl Gane (11-2).
When the fight first got announced, Ciryl Gane was actually the betting favorite. The former interim champion was coming off a devastating knockout win over Tai Tuivasa and had it not been for a failed attempted knee bar, he would’ve likely defeated Francis Ngannou last January to become undisputed champion.
However, by fight night, Jon Jones was the betting favorite. Ciryl Gane struggled with grappling in the Ngannou fight so many pointed to that as the reason why he would struggle with Jones. Still, there was intrigue if Gane could keep the fight standing considering his incredible skill and size.
However, he never got much of a chance to show off his skill and size. In the first couple of minutes, Jones was able to land a takedown. In a scramble against the fence, Jones got into a dominant position and locked in a guillotine choke. Gane was forced to tap and Jones became the UFC heavyweight champion.
What’s next after UFC 285?
After starting his career a perfect 10-0, Gane is now 1-2 in his last three with both losses coming in undisputed title fights. In both of those losses, his glaring weakness was exposed against Jones and Francis Ngannou.
With this loss, where does Ciryl Gane go? Let’s be clear, he’s still one of the very best heavyweights in the world. If he can sure up his wrestling and stop takedowns, I’m not sure anyone in the heavyweight division can beat him. However, that’s going to be a very tall ask.
With this loss, who would be good opponents for Gane next? I’ve seen some people suggest Sergei Spivak, but I’m not a fan of Gane fighting a suffocating grappler next. From a business perspective, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
What does make sense is a fight with Tom Aspinall somewhere in Europe. Aspinall resumed sparring in January and is gearing up for a return. Sure, Aspinall has the grappling and submission game to give Gane problems, but he also has tremendous striking and could entertain striking with Gane.
With Gane being the top heavyweight from France and Aspinall repping England, it just makes sense to have these two fight in a Fight Night headliner across the pond sometime in the summer months. The winner would immediately be right in title contention.