Ciryl Gane knew about interim title fight before UFC Vegas 30

Ciryl Gane UFC

We are just days removed from learning that UFC 265 will be headlined by an interim title fight between Ciryl Gane (9-0) and Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC). The PPV is being held in Houston which is the home of The Black Beast.

The news took everyone by surprised. For the last couple of months, the UFC had been working on Lewis fighting Francis Ngannou (16-3). Ngannou is the undisputed heavyweight champion who just won the title in late March.

However, Ngannou went home to Africa to celebrate his title victory. He just returned to the United States and voiced to the UFC that he wouldn’t be ready for August 7th. Ngannou and his management did accept a fight against Lewis for the undisputed title in September.

However, that didn’t fit the timeline for the UFC. The promotion wanted Lewis to headline the August card in his hometown. UFC 265 has another title fight in Amanda Nunes – Julianna Pena, but the promotion didn’t want that as the headliner.

While Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time, she’s not a massive draw as her headlining PPVs show. With that, the UFC took an aggressive approach to finding a big time matchup to fill the main event slot. That big time matchup is the interim heavyweight title fight.

Gane knew before UFC Vegas 30

We now know that the wheels were in motion for UFC 265 before the fights last weekend. At UFC Vegas 30, Ciryl Gane defeated Alexander Volkov in the main event. It was a beautiful performance by Gane who took virtually no damage in the fight.

Gane spoke with MMA Junkie this week and said that the promotion approached his management before his fight last weekend. The UFC told the Gane camp that Gane would get a shot at Derrick Lewis for the interim title if he were to win and come out clean.

Once Gane got his hand raised on Saturday night and was cleared to compete, the UFC moved forward with the booking. I still don’t agree with the decision to create an interim title especially considering Ngannou just won the belt and would be ready a month later.

The decision makes absolutely no sense from a combat sports perspective, but it wasn’t a combat sports decision. This was strictly a business decision because the UFC needed a bigger fight to headline their August PPV in Houston.

Sound Off: Do you agree with the UFC’s decision to book an interim title fight in August?