BREAKING: Francis Ngannou Removed From Main Card as UFC Sets up Derrick Lewis vs Ciryl Gane for an Interim Title Fight at UFC 265

Published 06/28/2021, 10:24 PM EDT
BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 20: Francis Ngannou looks on between rounds against Stipe Miocic in their Heavyweight Championship fight during UFC 220 at TD Garden on January 20, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)


The UFC seems to have run out of patience with its heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. The promotion has scheduled an interim title fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane set to take place on August 7th in Houston at UFC 265. Reports suggest that the UFC wanted Ngannou to defend his belt in June or August. 

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However, ‘The Predator’ was not ready to fight in that timeline and wanted to fight in September instead. This is not a ludicrous demand given that he just won the belt in March this year and would not be holding up the division for too long.

Both fans and the heavyweight champion himself have reacted negatively to the news.

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Does snubbing Francis Ngannou to create an interim title fight make sense this point in time?

Following the announcement, both Ngannou and his team made their feelings very clear. Ngannou’s team stated, “This comes as a complete shock. To make an interim title so soon, if you look at the history of this division, it comes as a surprise. We hope to get clarity and figure out something with the UFC soon”

While the champion himself took to Twitter to say, “I remember my interim title fight against Jairzinho …. oh wait”

The way the promotion has treated their new heavyweight champion seems completely irrational. Moreover, he waited for the better part of three years for the trilogy between Cormier and Miocic to be settled before he got a chance at a title shot.

Ngannou has been extremely active as a UFC fighter thus far. He just won the belt in March this year and for the UFC to demand a three-month turnaround from a champion is a bit far-fetched. 

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The reaction from the MMA community as a whole has been one of extreme shock as Dana White stated time after time again that Lewis would be next for Ngannou.

Although both Gane and Lewis are top fighters and deserving of a title shot, creating an interim belt at this point in time with a champion willing to stay active was not a good move from the promotion. 

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What do you make of the interim title fight between Gane and Lewis? Was it the right thing to do? Let us know in the comments below!

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Kevin Binoy

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Kevin Binoy is an MMA author at EssentiallySports. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Fergusson College and has been covering sports professionally for over two years. Besides working with the MMA writing team, Kevin is a core member of the organization's web stories team and is responsible for delivering engaging MMA web stories.

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