Ciryl Gane has had an unusual journey to the top of MMA.
‘Bon Gamin’ is the former interim heavyweight UFC champion and has the chance to become an undisputed titleholder when he takes on Jon Jones at UFC 285 this weekend.
The former two-time light-heavyweight titleholder is considered the greatest MMA fighter of all time by many and will be hoping to add to his legacy by beating Gane on Saturday night.
During his youth, the Frenchman focused on football and since becoming a famous MMA fighter he’s had the chance to show off his skills in a couple of charity games.
In 2014, he left his hometown on the coast of western France and relocated to Paris to study business. While studying, Gane worked as a salesperson in a furniture shop, and it was there he was convinced by a co-worker to go to a nearby gym.
Two years later, Gane was competing in Muay Thai and was still selling sofas when it closed down, deciding to commit himself full-time to fighting.
He told Ruptly last year: “I worked in furniture until the age of 24, my store closed.
“I didn’t do much sport anymore. So, I decided to take up the sport again and discover new sports. It started with Thai boxing in 2015. I had three great years and in 2018, my path crossed that of [coach] Fernand Lopez and we decided to get into MMA.”
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A year prior, the 32-year-old noted that he has always taken to sports really quickly and explained that’s why he’s been able to achieve so much during his five years in MMA.
Gane told Morning Kombat in August 2021: “This is a little bit strange but, in every sport, [I played], I was confident. I don’t know why. Maybe, it’s because I am comfortable with my body. [But] it is not a surprise [to me].
“When I started in Muay Thai, maybe after five months the coach put me in the ring and I did better each time I was challenged by better fighters. Since my [pro Muay Thai] debut, it has been like that.
“I am going to fight Derrick Lewis and that’s fine with me. I have only been in this sport for three years and it’s normal for me.
“I don’t know, exactly [why]. Maybe, [it’s] because I just started a few years ago. I don’t have any pressure and I just want to make a show for the fans. If I win, if I lose, I’m comfortable with that.”
After picking up wins over top UFC heavyweights Junior dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Alexander Volkov, Gane knocked out Lewis to become a UFC champion in his tenth professional fight.
In January 2022, he suffered a razor-thin decision defeat when he fought his old training partner Francis Ngannou who has since opted to leave the UFC to pursue big-money boxing matches.
Gane got back in the win column in September when he headlined the UFC’s first-ever show in Paris and knocked out Tai Tuivasa in a packed arena filled with his countrymen.
While the 11-1 knockout artist was still working in a furniture store, his UFC 285 opponent was already creating a legacy for himself in MMA’s premier promotion.
Jones ruthlessly stopped Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua in one round to become the youngest UFC champion ever in March 2011 when he was just 23 years old.
Since then, he’s beaten a long list of legends including Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen, Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson, and Daniel Cormier.
Today, he’s gearing up for his first fight in three years. Jones is hoping to solidify his GOAT status by beating Gane in his heavyweight debut and becoming a two-weight world champion.