Five years into his MMA career, France’s Ciryl Gane is getting his third shot at UFC gold as he prepares to face former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who hasn’t fought since February 2020.
Before these two battle it out for the undisputed UFC heavyweight title, let’s take a look back at some of the fights that led Gane to this moment:
Gane vs Derrick Lewis (UFC 265)
Just nine fights into his professional career and after six fights in the UFC, Gane had his biggest test to date against the knockout king, Derrick Lewis. The two squared off for the interim UFC heavyweight title inside the Toyota Center at UFC 265.
Gane dominated the entire fight against the No. 2 ranked contender in the world, staying calm and collected throughout the entire fight and continuing to land things that Lewis was unable to defend. An unloading of punches in the third round left Gane with the belt around his waist at the end of the night.
He answered any doubts or questions that people may have had about him with this victory. The only question that came after this fight was when Gane would fight for the undisputed title against the champion at the time, Francis Ngannou.
Gane vs Tai Tuivasa (UFC Fight Night: Gane vs Tuivasa)
“Bon Gamin” bounced back from the first loss in his career, which came against Ngannou, in a big way in front of the French crowd as the UFC made its way to France for the first time. It was a clash of hard-hitting heavyweights as Gane faced Tai Tuivasa, who came into the fight on a five-fight win streak, all by knockouts.
The two went back and forth, keeping the crowd entertained in a bout that earned them Fight of the Night honors, until Gane put an end to it in the third round, knocking out Tuivasa. All roads would now lead to Gane’s fight against Jones for the heavyweight title.
Gane vs Don’Tale Mayes (UFC Fight Night: Maia vs Askren)
Gane left Singapore Indoor Stadium with a Performance of the Night bonus as he submitted Don’Tale Mayes via heel hook in the third round. But quite frankly, people were wondering how the fight didn’t get stopped sooner with the punches that Gane was landing throughout the entire fight.
At the end of the first round, Gane swarmed Males with punches on the ground as the horn sounded, signaling that the round was over. It was only Gane’s second fight in the UFC, and his second finish in the UFC. Prior to this fight, all four of his wins had come by finish as well.
It was beginning of his rise as a contender in the heavyweight division.
Gane vs Junior Dos Santos (UFC 256)
Gane added another finish to his belt after stopping Junior Dos Santos in the second round. This was a big jump for Gane, who came into the bout ranked No. 14 in the division, while Dos Santos sat at No. 7 and was the former UFC heavyweight champion.
This was Gane’s first knockout inside the UFC Octagon and it was an impressive one. The two were exchanging shots in the first round, neither landing one strong enough to put someone on the canvas. But that all changed in round two, when Gane wobbled Dos Santos with a jab. He continued to put it on Dos Santos, landing an elbow that sent him down and, from there, the job was complete after he finished it off with a few more follow-up punches.
Gane vs Alexander Volkov (UFC Fight Night: Gane vs Volkov)
This fight solidified Gane’s place in the division and his shot at the interim title against Lewis.
It was Gane’s second main event in a row after defeating Jairzinho Rozenstruik by unanimous decision just four months earlier. During his fight against Volkov, Gane continued to show his speed and technical skills. Volkov wasn’t able to keep up with Gane’s pace as the fight continued, and his cardio is something that people are still talking about today.
UFC 285: Jones vs Gane took place live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 4, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!