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There’s a little more spice in the undisputed UFC heavyweight title fight at UFC 270 this weekend.
Francis Ngannou and Cyril Gane will meet to determine the true king of the UFC heavyweight division, but factory MMA head coach Fernand Lopez adds another layer of intrigue to this contest.
Lopez coached Ngannou to success in the UFC and worked with The Predator until 2018. Just before Ngannou left the MMA factory, Gane entered the fray and the pair briefly sparred and sparred. is beaten together.
The split between Ngannou and Lopez was acrimonious to say the least. On the UFC Countdown video previewing the fight, Lopez said the “bad Ngannou” would come out when he went to train in America away from him, which led to him cutting ties with the Cameroonian.
talkSPORT caught up with Ngannou during UFC 270 fight week and he dismissed the idea that he had developed bad habits away from Lopez, particularly because he became heavyweight champion around that time.
“Personally, I don’t give any credence to what he says and I don’t think anything about it. I think he speaks out of jealousy. I think that’s the main thing,” Ngannou said, puzzled.
“Did my bad habits make me a champion? Yes definitely. So I should have more bad habits to become champion again and again, right? [laughs]. You should ask him what my bad habits are. Maybe party? While drinking? I do not know.
“If the ‘bad’ Francis trains well, improves, wins fights and becomes the champion, then yes, it’s bad!”
Lopez said Ngannou returned to her after two straight losses to Stipe Miocic and then Derrick Lewis in 2018, but after defeating Curtis Blaydes at the end of the same year, their relationship would break down again.
“I said, they are going to fight. I knew this would happen,” Lopez said of Ngannou and Gane after their fight in 2018.
“With two defeats, he went back to France and he said ‘Can you help me? How can we work together?’ And I said ‘If you want this to happen, you listen to what I say. You follow the game plans. You follow the conditioning training.
“He said, ‘I’m ready to follow all of this.’
“We went to China, he won the fight [against Curtis Blaydes] and then there is the bad François again. He went back to America and started doing what he wanted to do, and it worked for him.
“But I said ‘I don’t want to work with you anymore.'”
It certainly worked for Ngannou, but now he has to face a 10-0 Gane coached by a man who claims to know him better than anyone at UFC 270.
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Francis Ngannou hits back at ‘jealous’ ex-coach who will corner opponent Cyril Gane at UFC 270
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