Amazing news comes from the UFC. Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane will fight for the interim heavyweight champion at the UFC 265 event in August. It is bizarre that the leaders of the promotion decide to look for a temporary champion when the current champion Francis Ngannou fought only three months ago, winning the belt against Stipe Miočić.
ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto said in a statement that Dana White told him that Francis Ngannou was not ready to defend his belt in August and that is why this fight was arranged. Marquel Martin, one of the representatives of the management agency representing Francis Ngannou, is totally shocked by this information: ''This came as a total shock to us.
Doing the fight for the interim champion so fast is truly surprising if we look at the history of this category." "We hope that the UFC will clarify this situation for us and that we will correct this as soon as possible, '' Marquel Martin told ESPN, adding that Ngannou spent the whole of May in his native Cameroon and is therefore not ready to fight in August.
Indeed if we recall previous interim champions, regardless of category, it’s truly amazing that the UFC is arranging such a fight so quickly and punishing the current champion in some way. It is true that Francis ’first title defense was expected in August in a rematch against Derrick Lewis and that there is no point in Ngannou going to Cameroon three months before a potential fight.
But the fight could simply have been moved to a slightly later date. The real reasons for White and the UFC’s decision can only be speculated. There are more and more disagreements over the salary of fighters. There were also problems finding Francis' next opponent, but there were problems between Jon Jones and Dana White.
Not even Francis Ngannou could hide his shock at the new situation. "I remember my fight for the interim champion against Jairzinho Rozenstruik ..." , the current champion wrote on his Twitter profile, alluding to the middle of 2020 when he wanted that fight because the then Stipe Miočić was out of action for nine months.
It is certain that we will hear a lot more in the coming hours and days regarding the overall situation. What seems certain is that Ciryl Gane or Derrick Lewis will get a chance to win the UFC belt, albeit a temporary one.
It will be Gane's seventh fight under the auspices of the UFC, and the tenth in his professional career, while Derrick Lewis, after four knockouts in a row, is coming to a new opportunity to attack the belt.