This weekend at UFC 265, Paris’ Ciryl Gane takes on Derrick Lewis for the interim UFC heavyweight title. Gane is just one of the many talented fighters to come from France, and there’s no doubt there will be many more to come.
Before “Bon Gamin” makes his walk to the Octagon this weekend, let’s check out all of the current UFC fighters that represent this European nation.
Three years into his MMA career, Ciryl Gane will fight Derrick Lewis. for the interim UFC heavyweight title at UFC 265. The 31-year-old was born in La Roche-sur-Yon, France and began his professional career in 2018. Prior to joining the UFC, Gane fought for the TKO promotion, where he became the heavyweight champion in his first fight.
He defended that title twice before making his UFC debut on August 10, 2019, against Raphael Pessoa. “Bon Gamin” is undefeated as a pro with nine wins. He’s secured three wins by knockout and three by submission. In June, he won a five-round unanimous decision over Alexander Volkov.
Originally born in Batié, Cameroon, Francis Ngannou decided to head to Paris, France at the age of 26 to start pursuing professional boxing. He lived on the streets of Paris before meeting Fernand Lopez of the MMA Factory, who convinced him to try MMA. They provided him with MMA gear, and allowed him to train and stay at the gym, which helped start his career. He started his MMA career in 2013, fighting mostly in the French promotion 100% Fight.
Ngannou began his UFC career in December 2015, defeating Luis Henrique. The rest is history. Ngannou continued to make his way to the top, most recently knocking out Stipe Miocic to win the UFC heavyweight title in March. With the victory, he became the first native of Cameroon to become UFC champion. It’s no secret why Ngannou is known as one of the scariest fighters on the planet, as 12 of Ngannou’s 16 wins have come by knockout.
After dominating in her first two UFC appearances, Manon Fiorot has become a top prospect in the women’s flyweight division. Fiorot faced Victoria Leonardo in her debut, and most recently defeated Tabatha Ricci in June. She knocked out both opponents in the second round.
Born in Nice, France, Fiorot had her professional debut on June 16, 2018, where she lost to Leah McCourt. Since then, she has gone 7-0, winning six fights by knockout. She’ll look to win in spectacular fashion against Mayra Bueno Silva at UFC 266 on September 25.
Fares Ziam began his professional career in 2014, fighting in a variety of promotions based in France. The lightweight made his first walk to the Octagon on September 7, 2019, where he fell to Don Madge by unanimous decision.
Ziam was able to rebound and pick up wins in his last two UFC fights against Jamie Mullarkey and Luigi Vendramini. Throughout his career, he has secured five wins by knockout and four by submission. With his latest win over Vendramini at UFC 263, Ziam improved to 12-3.
Originally born in Dagestan, Russia, Nassourdine Imavov moved to Paris, France when he turned 19 years old and started training at the MMA Factory. The middleweight made his Octagon debut on October 3, 2020, when he defeated Jordan Williams by unanimous decision.
Imavov’s most recent win came against Ian Heinisch at UFC Fight Night: Sandhagen vs Dillashaw, extending his record to 10-3 with four wins by knockout and four wins by submission.
Born in Lyon, France, Alan Baudot stepped into the Octagon for the first time on October 10, 2020. The 33-year-old currently trains at the MMA Factory in Paris.
He began his professional career in 2013 and holds a record of 8-3. Since joining the UFC, the heavyweight has faced Tom Aspinall and Rodrigo Nascimento, but hasn’t been able to come out victorious yet.
Zarah Fairn was born in Paris, France where she began her professional career in 2013. The last time UFC fans saw Fairn was in her second Octagon appearance on February 29, 2020, where she lost to Felicia Spencer. Since then, she has had two bouts canceled.
Making her Octagon debut in 2019, the 37-year-old holds a record of 6-4, with four wins by knockout. The first French woman to compete in the UFC, Fairn is determined to get her hand raised as soon as possible.
A winner on season four of Dana White’s Contender Series, Paris native Natan Levy has seen his UFC debut delayed due to injury, but once he gets the green light to return, expect to see the unbeaten southpaw make some noise in the Octagon.
Don't miss an action-packed card and the crowning of a new interim heavyweight king this weekend at UFC 265: Lewis vs Gane, live from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, and available to watch on ESPN+. Early prelims begin at 6pm ET / 3pm PT. Main card begins at 10pm ET / 7pm PT.