‘Their only approach is to attack me psychologically and try to get under my skin’: Francis Ngannou insists mind games from Cyril Gane’s camp will NOT stop him winning by early KO in UFC 270 showdown
- Francis Ngannou defends his heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane this weekend
- Champion knows that he only has to land one devastating punch to finish fight
- Gane has said he is happy to out-point the Cameroonian over five rounds
- But Ngannou is predicting a knockout victory within the first two rounds
Francis Ngannou has never entered a fight having to deal with the kind of psychological warfare being imposed ahead of UFC 270.
From his former coach, who now works with Saturday’s opponent Ciryl Gane, leaking sparring footage and repeatedly talking about their split – to his challenger addressing the snub at Madison Square Garden, the noise has been relentless.
And Ngannou is under no illusion that the opposition are doing their best to distract him with mind games.
Francis Ngannou says he will shut out all of the noise generated by Ciryl Gane’s camp
The UFC heavyweight champion believes Gane’s camp are trying to get under his skin
He exclusively told Sportsmail: ‘Definitely, that is their plan. They know the beast and they don’t want anything to do with that.
‘Their only approach is to try to come at me psychologically, try and get in your head, get under your skin.
‘They have a huge team for that but I am a champion and I bypass whatever they are doing by far.’
Gane, despite his relative inexperience, remains undefeated and enters UFC 270 as the betting favourite to dethrone the champion.
Ngannou and his former coach, Fernand Lopez (left) had an acrimonious split
Footage of Gane and Lopez has since been leaked, much to the Cameroonian’s frustrations
The heavyweight rivals used to train together at the MMA Factory in Paris until 2018
He is seen as the more mobile fighter, able to stick and move away from the huge power punches Ngannou will be throwing his way.
The Frenchman has admitted he would be happy to cruise to victory over five rounds on the judges’ scorecards but Ngannou warns that would be a fatal mistake.
He went on: ‘That is definitely a big risk against me. It will be his lucky day if he gets out of the first round, just to survive the first or the first two rounds.
‘If he manages to last the five rounds it will be a big accomplishment for him.’
The sheer size of Ngannou can be intimidating for his opponents but he opened up about trying to slim down, knowing that leaving plenty in the gas tank could be crucial against the durable Frenchman.
He continued: ‘I always try to slim down as a much as possible because I know that power is always there, I’m not going to lose it, so I don’t really focus on gaining weight or muscle mass.
Ngannou told Sportsmail that he expects to finish Gane before the third round
‘I have a genetic amount of muscle mass that I want even to get rid of so my main goal is always to slim down.
‘For people like Stipe, I know the fight can go longer so there is a cardio advantage, same with Gane.
‘So my goal is to slim down and work on my cardio, that’s the most important thing for me.’
Having won his last five fights by knockout in the first or second round, the champion will try to rinse and repeat in Las Vegas.
When asked how he sees the fight playing out as he goes to bed at night, he replies: ‘When I put my head on the pillow, I try to sleep! I empty mind.
‘My prediction is the knockout, probably second round but under two rounds.’
Gane goes into the fight as the favourite despite his relative inexperience at the top level
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