UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou thinks video footage of him sparring with Cyril Gane was intentionally released to make him look bad.
Ngannou makes the first defence of his title against interim titleholder Gane at UFC 270 next month in California.
The pair used to train at MMA Factory in Paris, France, but Ngannou left the gym after his 2018 loss to Stipe Miocic.
The Cameroonian relocated to Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, with the move paying off as he avenged his loss to Miocic in March to win the heavyweight title.
Footage resurfaced earlier this year of Gane getting the better of Ngannou in a sparring session, but the champion explained why he thinks the footage is laughable.
“When I saw that footage, my first reaction was laughing, because I know exactly what happened at those training sessions,” Ngannou said on his YouTube channel.
"When they want do some highlight, they always choose the part of the video that they use and they have a lot of videos like that because at the time, they were filming our training sessions to promote him.
"So there was a lot of footage from those few training sessions, but a lot of them never came out and will never come out, and I know for a fact that they will never come out."
Ngannou admitted there is a rivalry between him and Gane and despite being former training partners, the two were never good friends.
The pair crossed paths backstage at UFC 268 in November, with Gane being visibly confused after an emotionless Ngannou gave him the cold shoulder.
Gane has won three fights this year, with decisions against Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Alexander Volkov setting up a interim title fight against Derrick Lewis in August.
'Bon Gamin' proved his striking was levels above the rest of the heavyweight division by stopping Lewis to set up an undisputed fight with Ngannou.
Ngannou is refusing to sign a new deal with the UFC as his fight with Gane marks the last fight on his current deal.
The heavyweight champion says he is unhappy with his UFC contract and has demanded more money after spells of inactivity have forced him to borrow money to live.
Who wins at UFC 270, Ngannou or Gane? Let us know your prediction in the comments section below
And Ngannou thinks the video of him sparring Gane shows how easy it is to "manipulate" people.
“It’s about to make him look better and make me look bad – to prove that he’s the man," he continued.
"I really get intrigued by (that) stuff sometimes and then how they just control people’s mind, conditioning them to think – and suddenly they just shift from one way to other way of thinking.
"I’m like, how easy is that to manipulate people? … They’re really good at manipulation. But at the end of the day, as I said, we both know. Everyone knows for a fact.”
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