Pros react to Ciryl Gane vs. Derrick Lewis interim heavyweight title fight at UFC 265

Three months after Francis Ngannou was crowned UFC heavyweight champion, an interim heavyweight title has been created.

UFC President Dana White on Monday announced a fight between top contender Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis for the interim belt at UFC 265 on Aug. 7 in Lewis’ home town of Houston. MMA Fighting confirmed that bout agreements are in place for the five-round title fight.

ESPN.com reported Ngannou was not available for the August pay-per-view, prompting the UFC to book an alternative after initially seeking to pair the champ against Lewis in June and then August. Lewis was named the No. 1 contender amid a dispute over pay between the UFC and former light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, who was expected to get an immediate title shot after relinquishing his belt to move up a division.

Ngannou, who will retain his undisputed title that he took from Stipe Miocic at UFC 260, was one of several pros to react to the news of a new belt in the mix. Here’s how pros reacted to the UFC 265 interim title fight between Gane and Lewis.

I remember my interim title fight against Jairzinho …. oh wait

— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) June 28, 2021

I never say no to challenges.

Thank you @mgmtfactory for this supersonic rise.@fernandlopez, we got work to do !#AnyoneAnywhere pic.twitter.com/1lnAxiVB37

— Ciryl Gane (@ciryl_gane) June 28, 2021

Wow that’s a swerve I didn’t see coming…. https://t.co/tcsoEGuqkB

— Funky (@Benaskren) June 28, 2021

https://t.co/NYtLxQ0xPY

— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) June 28, 2021

Nothing has been right here https://t.co/SIeM9uEfBG

— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) June 28, 2021

Ciryl Gane vs. Derrick Lewis for the interim belt . I knew Gane was going to get something big soon!

— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) June 28, 2021

If you only knew half the story… But you see how they’ll do you??

— Eric Nicksick (@Eric_XCMMA) June 28, 2021

Making an interim heavyweight title fight makes absolutely no sense

— Megan Anderson (@MeganA_mma) June 28, 2021

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