Francis Ngannou names Israel Adesanya as UFC’s best striker – mocking Ciryl Gane

Francis Ngannou believes that Israel Adesanya can do 'everything Ciryl Gane can do but better' ahead of his first UFC Heavyweight Championship defence attempt on January 23 at UFC 270.

The French-Cameroonian mixed martial artist claimed UFC gold for the first time in March of 2021 following a brutal knock-out victory over veteran champ Stipe Miocic.

Almost 12 months later, Ngannou will finally step into the octagon to try and defend his belt, and it will come against Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Ciryl Gane.

Gane outclassed Derrick Lewis before securing a TKO victory in his last bout back in August, extending his perfect MMA record to 10 victories without defeat – seven of those coming under the UFC banner.

Ngannou has been speaking openly about the upcoming fight and his career in general in recent weeks, and hasn't shown much respect to his opponent.

Gane, 31, has been praised for his flowing style inside the octagon, racing his way into title contention with wins over Junior dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov.

Despite briefly sparring with Gane earlier in his career, Ngannou has felt confident in picking middleweight king Adesanya as the best striker in the sport.

He went on to say that the Nigerian-born New Zealand champ is better than his heavyweight counterpart at everything, and that he wanted to train with him in preparation.

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"It’s really hard for me to make a clear statement on [Israel Adesanya] because it’s going to be emotional, you know,” he said on his own YouTube channel.

"I took Izzy as a brother so things that I say about him might not be considered by somebody but I say, he’s a great guy, the best striker in the game.

"By the way, I tried to get him for this training camp, but travel restrictions with New Zealand were not really helpful for us so we couldn’t make it.

"But he would have loved to come here and help me for the striking part of the game, the footwork and everything. Because when you look at his style, he just does everything that Ciryl does but in a better way.

"And he was willing to come down here and help me for my camp, but couldn’t make it."

Ngannou, 35, will go face-to-face with Gane on January 23 at UFC 270 in California, with flyweight rivals Brandon Moreno (C) and Deiveson Figueiredo completing a trilogy earlier in the night.

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