Ciryl Gane thinks he solidified himself as a viable heavyweight title contender when he beat Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the UFC Fight Night 186 main event.
In his first UFC main event, Gane (8-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) beat Rozenstruik (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) in a lopsided unanimous decision at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. He remained undefeated and now holds the longest active winning streak in the UFC heavyweight division at five fights. Although it wasn’t the most spectacular of fights, Gane said beating someone of Rozenstruik’s stature validates him as a contender, and he’s ready for the title.
“I’m legit,” Gane told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the post-fight news conference. “I’m undefeated and I’m the only one undefeated in this division in the rankings. I think I’m legit. I want to say it to everybody: In the next months, if you have a place, if someone has an injury, I’m here. I’m here, man.” The top of the heavyweight division is as interesting as any time in recent memory. Champion Stipe Miocic will rematch Francis Ngannou for the belt at UFC 260 on March 27, and Jon Jones seemingly is waiting in the wings to challenge the winner. Derrick Lewis and Alexander Volkov are trending strongly toward a title shot, and now Gane has put himself in the mix, too.
UFC president Dana White made it clear he wasn’t exactly blown away by what he saw at UFC Fight Night 186, but Gane is confident he’s in contention. However, he said he doesn’t care who the champion will be if and when his opportunity comes around.
“I talked with my coach and he said if I win this weekend, I’m going to go after the belt,” Gane said. “It doesn’t matter who or how – we’re going to go after the belt now.” Gane said that while admittedly not action-packed, he learned a lot about himself by beating Rozenstruik. He knows he’s now capable of going five rounds, and perhaps more importantly, he said he can work through the frustration of a methodical fight.
“That’s really correct (that I had to be patient),” Gane said. “I tried to make the pressure. I was looking for some way to finish the fight. … I had to be careful.”