Ciryl Gane’s head coach clarifies ‘lazy’ comments ahead of Jon Jones title fight at UFC 285


Ahead of the highly anticipated fight between Jon Jones and Ciryl Gane, the latter has made waves with recent comments about being “lazy” when it comes to his training, and Gane’s head coach wants to clarify some misconceptions.

Gane will face the returning Jones in the main event of UFC 285 for the vacant UFC heavyweight title on March 4 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In a recent interview with La Sueur, Gane appeared to say that he only takes his training seriously when he has a date and opponent booked.

“I love grappling, but unfortunately, I’m lazy – that’s the truth,” Gane said. I only train when there is a fight. I have a lot of media obligations. Professional opportunities outside of the sport. These opportunities are not to be denied. I also have to give time to my family, rest well.”

“If I look back at my career, this a regret: I only train when a fight is announced. I had my fight against [Tai Tuivasa], barely trained since then, and now I’m back at it since the Jones fight has been announced.”

While Lopez says that the former interim champion has regretted, perhaps, being a bit lazy, it was meant to be said in the past tense.

“Well, what I want to clarify is that, is that he said on that sentence, that’s something that I regret, I’ve been [saying in the past], Ciryl is a lazy guy,” Lopez told MMA Fighting. “But now I’m saying that Ciryl was a lazy guy. We went straight back to training immediately after our fight with Francis. After fighting Derrick Lewis, we began training. Unfortunately, Lewis was hurt in the hand. But as soon as the doctor gave the authorization to start training, we started the camp with him.

“Matter of fact, when we went to [Nassourdine Imavov’s] fight in Vegas, we brought a guy with us who is one of the best grapplers we’ve ever had in France. Why did we [bring] this guy out with us in Vegas? That was only because I needed someone to come with us to keep training Ciryl all the time.”

Gane’s lone loss was to Ngannou at UFC 270 in January 2022, which, as of now, turned out to be the final UFC fight and title defense of Ngannou’s career after becoming a free agent. While the loss taught Gane a lot of valuable lessons from an in-cage perspective, Lopez also revealed that it opened up a lot of things from a mental perspective as well, leaving Gane in a position to be open and honest about mistakes he’s made in the past with his grappling ability.

According to the head coach at MMA Factory in Paris, Gane has a natural ability to learn, and that his grappling has improved leaps and bounds since his loss to Ngannou.

“What he’s saying is that, before, he was the lazy guy that was just training, and what I love about my relationship with him is that we sat down after the fight with Francis about all of these things,” Lopez said. We started talking, and were discussing mental conditioning. And then I said that it was my regret that development happens only when there is no date. Whenever you have a date, all of the focus you should go on the opponent instead of the developing aspect. So what I’m saying is that since the loss to Francis, everything was back in order.

“And now, what he’s trying to say is that he’s very talented on the grappling, He loves the movement of the grappling like we brought a guy named Devonte, [known as] Bones BJJ. He has the [length] like Jon Jones at the same time is [a BJJ] world champion. And this guy was like, ‘Whoa, I didn’t know that Ciryl loved grappling that much. His goal is to always roll and try the foot hook, banana split, twister, electric chair and all of the other big moves we are familiar with. He loves to roll around and hit all the big moves. But he doesn’t have any fundamentals.

“But at the same time, what he regrets is that if he had kept busy a long time ago when he [started MMA], then he would be, maybe a brown belt, because he’s very talented. [they] can’t understand how to teach someone something. Cyril catches on very quickly. You show him one move and he can catch on. You shoot one position, he can catch on. And because of that, it’s going so fast that now he’s regretting. This is like: “Damn, when the fight was over, I quit training, and now, I’m like wow, I should have kept busy so I

Jones returns to action after a three-year layoff, and in a new division after vacating the light heavyweight title following his decision win over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in February 2020.

According to Lopez, it should not come as a shock that Gane — or anyone else in his position — would prefer having a longer stretch of time to prepare for a title fight, facing one of the all-time greats in Jones. Jones wouldn’t be surprised if Jones felt a little pressure at times. It seemed that all roads were leading to a possible matchup against Ngannou for Nganweight.

“Other thing that I want to clarify, what he is saying is that there’s no surprise — you know that the camp started six, seven weeks before the fight,” Lopez explained. We all knew that the official date for the fight was the time [UFC President] Dana White declared the fight official. That was six weeks or seven weeks before the fight. It’s not surprising that Ciryl says, “I would prefer to train for three, four, or seven months rather than only training for seven weeks.” That is not trying to have an excuse saying that. ‘Well, if I don’t win the fight it is because I didn’t have enough time to train’ – no, that’s not the mentality of Ciryl. He’s saying that Jon Jones spent all his time training for Francis Ngannou and now they have announced that he will fight a completely different man.

“This is a kid that brought the new standard of heavyweight movement and striking, and then you will fight him [instead of Francis], and you have only six weeks to prepare against him and find a good sparring partner that can imitate Ciryl. It’s not easy to do. Ciryl said that. He’s not saying, ‘Well that sucks, I didn’t train enough.’ People try to take things [too] serious and [out of context] on the internet.”