Francis Ngannou will be defending his heavyweight belt for the first time this coming weekend.
On Saturday, January 22nd at UFC 270 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Francis Ngannou (16-3 MMA) will go head to head with current interim champion Ciryl Gane (10-0 MMA).
Ngannou’s former coach, Fernand Lopez, is a former Cameroonian mixed martial artist and current MMA coach. Lopez is perhaps best known for establishing MMA Factory, the biggest MMA gym in France. Of course he was also well known as being the former trainer of UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou and is now the current trainer of UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Ciryl Gane.
In a UFC YouTube interview with Magan Olivi, Francis Ngannou spoke about his recent struggles with mental health and hiw his former coach Fernand Lopez was associated:
“I won’t say I’m surprised knowing the person (Lopez). I always knew that something like this could come from him. I was in Paris two years ago after the Derrick Lewis fight, and I was dealing with some personal stuff on my end. I was so in the bad place that I decided to see a psychiatrist. If you look at the psychiatrist’s notes, it’s funny because even two years ago she pointed out Fernand as a problem and to watch out. I thought she was like, crazy. She started to break it down and put it in the notes. Now I think she was all right.”
Yes, Ngannou and Gane were formerly teammates under the guidance of Fernand Lopez. However Ngannou, after suffering back-to-back UFC losses to Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis, made the decision to split with Lopez.
The falling out between the two, depending on whose side you listen to, has been attributed to Ngannou’s stubbornness and Lopez’s jealousy and desire for the limelight.
Recently, Lopez has even threatened to release sparring footage of Gane dropping Ngannou in training when they were teammates at the gym. Doing so would go against ‘code‘ and be unethical by all accounts, as what happens in the gym, should stay in the gym, according to others in the industry.
It is sure to be a much watched match between Ngannou and Gane. As of two days ago, Gane was the slight favorite in the betting world.
Will you be watching this Saturday and who do you believe will come out the victor of the Ngannou vs Gane headliner? Share your thoughts in the comment section PENN Nation!
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