Francis Ngannou didn’t even acknowledge Ciryl Gane when the pair crossed paths backstage at UFC 268.

Heavyweight champion Ngannou (16-3 MMA, 11-2 UFC) is set to unify his belt with interim heavyweight champ and former teammate Gane in the main event of UFC 270 on Jan. 22 and it appears tensions are starting to flare – at least from Ngannou’s side.

Gane (10-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) and his head coach, Fernand Lopez, were backstage following Nassourdine Imavov’s big finish of Edmen Shahbazyan this past Saturday when Ngannou walked past and completely ignored them. In the video captured, you can hear a perplexed Gane say “Pourquoi il n’a pas dit bonjour?” in French, which translates to “Why didn’t he say hello?”


@Francis_Ngannou & @Ciryl_Gane get a good look at each other months before their championship clash!

— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) November 7, 2021

Ngannou’s history with Lopez is well-documented. Lopez is responsible for helping hone both Ngannou and Gane’s skills, but the head coach of MMA Factory Paris recently had a falling out with Ngannou, which prompted the heavyweight champion to make a permanent move to Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Ngannou put the blame on Lopez for his lopsided championship loss to Stipe Miocic in 2018. But despite things going sour, Lopez insists that Gane’s fight with Ngannou will not be personal.

Perhaps their backstage crossing will prove otherwise, but it will be a glorious moment for Lopez regardless, since he coached two of the best heavyweights in the sport right now.

The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.



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