Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Francis Ngannou: Jon Jones ‘rushed’ against Ciryl Gane because he was ‘afraid’

Jones submitted Gane in Round 1 at UFC 285, winning the vacant heavyweight belt after three years away

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Tuesday 07 March 2023 11:47 GMT
Jon Jones reacts after becoming UFC heavyweight champion with submission win over Ciryl Gane

Francis Ngannou has suggested that Jon Jones ‘rushed’ in his fight with Ciryl Gane because he was ‘afraid’ at UFC 285.

Jones returned after three years away to submit Gane in Round 1 on Saturday, winning the vacant heavyweight title. The American, a former two-time light-heavyweight champion, took down Gane early before forcing the Frenchman to tap out to a guillotine choke.

And Ngannou, who relinquished the title in January while leaving the UFC, has now weighed in on the performances of Jones and Gane.

“I knew that if Jones showed up in a good space mentally, not like his last two fights, he’s going to prevail in this fight,” Ngannou said on his YouTube channel. “I didn’t see this fight [being] so short, I think this fight could have been longer.

“I was surprised the way that the fight ended. I think even seeing Ciryl’s reaction, he was surprised as well, because he wasn’t even defending. He wasn’t thinking that a submission would come from where he was at. That was quite a great performance from Jones.”

Ngannou admitted, however, that he had expected Jones to get the better of Gane in the grapping exchanges – even if he did not expect the 35-year-old to secure a finish so eary in the fight.

“I knew if I could outwrestle Ciryl, Jon would be another story,” Ngannou said, referencing his last fight in the UFC – a decision win against his former teammate in January 2022. “He would have a hard night if Jon would lay hands on him.

“What I do know is Jon was rushing. Jon didn’t want to give him space, because I think he was afraid of something – maybe of getting exhausted at some point, not being able to grab him – so he was chasing him from the first minute to grab him.

“He walked out pretty good, but it tells me something: He wasn’t very confident. He was rushing, which is good for him.”

Jones is next expected to fight former champion Stipe Miocic, potentially in July.

Jones’ fellow American is considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight ever, but Miocic has not fought in two years. The 40-year-old suffered a knockout loss to Ngannou in his last outing, three years after outpointing the Cameroonian.

Click here to subscribe to The Independent’s Sport YouTube channel for all the latest sports videos.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in