Ciryl Gane is ready to face one of the biggest challenges of his career when he meets Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 285 on ESPN+ PPV this Saturday. The former heavyweight title contender will welcome Jones to the division in a fight that will crown a new champion of the heaviest division in the UFC.
Gane, who recently returned to form with a knockout win against Tai Tuivasa last year, is not intimidated by Jones’ legacy and reputation as one of the greatest fighters of all time. In fact, he sees it as an opportunity to prove himself and enjoy the sport he loves.
“I love this sport. Yes, it’s my job, but first I’m a competitor,” Gane told TMZ Sports. “
“When I lost my fight against Francis [Ngannou], I was really not happy. So yes, I’m gonna test myself with the GOAT, and this is a pleasure for me. When you have a fight and you don’t have any challenge, that’s not exciting. Today I have a big challenge so I’m really excited about that.”
Gane also addressed some of the criticisms that Jones has faced in recent years, such as his lackluster performances against Dominick Reyes and Thiago Santos, his legal troubles outside the cage, and his long layoff since his last fight in February 2020.
“I don’t want to disrespect these opponents,” Gane told CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri. “These are beautiful fighters, so it’s really normal that it was not easy for Jon Jones… Maybe he’s not in his prime, maybe, but he was in really tough fights and he did really well.”
Gane also dismissed any concerns about Jones’ wrestling advantage, saying that he has improved his ground game since his loss to Ngannou and that he is prepared for any scenario.
“Against Francis Ngannou, I did really bad. I was really not aware and not focused on this,” Gane admitted. “He used the takedowns but he didn’t put me in danger… Tomorrow, I’m going to be very aware of the wrestling game of Jon Jones.”
Gane vs. Jones will headline UFC 285 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 4.
The event will also feature a co-main event title fight between Valentina Shevchenko and Alexa Grasso, as well as a stacked main card and preliminary card.
UFC 285 will be available only on pay-per-view via ESPN+ for US viewers.