Ciryl Gane ‘proud’ to be face of French MMA as he prepares to headline UFC Paris again against Sergey Spivak

CIRYL GANE never set out to be the face of French mixed martial arts – but that’s exactly what he is.

The explosion of French fighters plying their trade in promotions around the world has undoubtedly been headed up by the slick southpaw.

Two cracks at the UFC heavyweight title attest to that fact – although a headline spot in the promotion’s maiden visit to France last year cemented his status as the main man of French MMA.

That honour has once again been bestowed upon Gane for the UFC’s return to Paris in September, which is a source of immense pride for the 33-year-old.

Bon Gamin told SunSport: ‘I’m really proud about that – to be the face of French MMA.

“I’m really proud of that and my team are also proud, as are my family and friends also.”

Carrying the weight of the nation’s hopes for undisputed UFC gold is a load the soft-spoken and respectful Gane happily bears.

“I’m comfortable in this position – I’m okay with that,” he said. “I think I’m a good guy for that.

“Because the French people, the culture of the French people – don’t like too much to trash talk [laughs].

“I’m not like that, I’m a Bon Gamin, so I think I’m good for the job.”

The UFC lit the blue touch paper for their expansion into the French market with an unforgettable event at the Accor Arena last September.

That night, in particular the atmosphere during his slugfest with fan favourite Tai Tuivasa, will live long in the memory for Gane.

The Parisian pounder recalled: “Last year was amazing. Nobody expected that event – it was a big surprise to everybody.

“So to have another event this year, I’m so happy about. And I’m sure next year we’re gonna have another event for sure.”

Standing between Gane and a second successive victory on home soil is the surging Segery Spivak – who has won his last three on the bounce.

“This is a new guy in just joining the top five,” Gane said of the Moldovan. “He’s a good guy, a good fighter. He’s well-rounded and he’s dangerous.”

Submission specialist Spivak, 28, is indeed a dangerous customer for Gane to overcome in front of his loved ones.

Spivak has won six of his last seven – with two of his last three wins coming via TKO – but is far from a household name among casual fans.

But his improving striking and crushing top game are serious threats to Gane’s bid to get back in the win column in what promises to be another raucous Accor Arena crowd.

And Gane knows he’ll have to mind his Ps and Qs if he’s to experience that winning feeling in his hometown.

He said of the match-up: “Tai Tuivasa was spectacular and he was a dangerous guy. But Spivak, he doesn’t look like a dangerous guy.

“But he is more dangerous because he can strike, he can wrestle and he can go to the ground game. It’s gonna be a big test for me.”

Ciryl Gane ‘proud’ to be face of French MMA as he prepares to headline UFC Paris again against Sergey Spivak | The Sun

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