Anthony Smith believes Ciryl Gane is the real deal.
Gane is the current UFC interim heavyweight champion and is set to face Francis Ngannou in the main event of UFC 270 on January 22. It’s a very intriguing matchup and for Smith, he believes Gane beats Ngannou, and then if Jon Jones is next, he would beat Jones as well.
“I think Ciryl Gane is the real deal,” Smith said on SiriusXM’s Fight Nation (via MMAJunkie). “I’m making the bold prediction, I think Ciryl Gane beats Francis Ngannou, and I think he does it fairly handily. I also think Ciryl Gane beats Jon Jones.”
Why Smith believes the interim champ defeats Jones is simple. He thinks he matches up with Jones in athleticism, speed, and fight IQ which is where Jones usually has the edge over his opponents and how he wins. Smith also thinks he is the better striker and if he can defend the takedowns he would be able to beat Jones.
“When Jon Jones finds someone who matches him physically and athletically, I think that then you’re going to have to check down on his list to skill and technique,” Smith said. “I think with Ciryl Gane, I think he loses that battle. I think Ciryl Gane matches his size and athletic ability, his speed, his movement.
Ciryl Gane Beats Both Francis Ngannou and Jon Jones, Says Anthony Smith
“Ciryl Gane’s absolutely the better striker for sure. The little caveat there is if Ciryl Gane can defend a takedown, I think that he beats Jon Jones, and I think it’s boring,” Smith continued. “I think it’s a game of darts, and they’re just throwing darts at each other. I just think that he is the higher-level striker. I think he manages distance as well as – maybe a little bit better than – Jon Jones.”
Of course, before he can even fight Jon Jones he will need to beat Francis Ngannou at UFC 270 which is easier said than done.