If Ciryl wins, he'll be in the mix for a title shot ... and the champ could very well be Ngannou.
The issue? Gane and Ngannou -- who's fighting Stipe Miocic for the title at UFC 260 next month -- used to train together at MMA Factory in Paris under coach Fernand Lopez.
So, we asked Gane if he'd ever fight Francis.
"I think it’s a little bit shame if we do it before the belt because we’re both from [French Cameroon]. For me, we were born in the same gym, with the same coach and this is something."
Ciryl added ... "But, if the UFC wants to do that, that better be for the belt."
We asked CG if it'd be hard to hurt someone he likes and respects.
"For me, It’s a sport," Gane said, continuing ... "I don’t need to get mad in my career to do something in the cage. Outside the cage I’m a good kid, I’m always like that, and when I’m in the cage I do my job. That's it, it’s a sport for me. So yeah, I think for me it would be possible."
Now, there's a 255 lb. man who hits like a truck and is hellbent on wrecking any plans for a future Gane-Ngannou fight.
We talked to Rozenstruik -- who himself wants to fight Ngannou and avenge a 2020 loss -- and he says it's time to derail the Ciryl Gane hype train and get himself closer to a title shot.
The men fight tonight ... and chances are, someone's going to sleep!!