Israel Adesanya continues to position himself as a superstar in UFC.
While his personality is engrossing enough, the way The Last Stylebender has performed in the octagon – save for the Yoel Romero fight – has made the doubters into believers.
Once upon a time, his callouts to Jon Jones and the dram of fighting one of MMA’s true all-time greats fell on deaf ears, but now people – and Jones himself evidently – are taking notice.
Adesanya has made it clear that he wants to clear out the UFC middleweight division that he currently reigns over before moving up in weight and Jones himself has just recently declared he is heading for middleweight.
Is this a matchup that should be made at light-heavyweight sooner rather than later?
“That’s the fight to make, 100 percent,” UFC president Dana White told UFC Arabia on Friday. “I think that a fight between those two is massive.”
There’s no doubt it’s a generational contest that would draw in plenty of viewers, but Adesanya himself has said not yet.
“It doesn’t depend on what I want; it depends on what they want to do,” White said. “Adesanya is a champ. He’s really coming into his own, and you can tell he knows this is his house, and he comes and acts like it. I think he wants the winner of Whittaker and Cannonier, and then we’ll see what happens after that.”
Jones is finally making the jump to heavyweight and has his eyes set on a title shot against Stipe Miocic who most recently sent old Jones foe Daniel Cormier into retirement.
However, he has to wait his turn at that weight as well. White has already suggested that Francis Ngannou – off the back of three first round knockouts – will be next in line.
That leaves Jones in a bit of limbo. Both of the lucrative bouts he can get are unavailable to him right now, so it seems like he’ll be forced to play the waiting game while the champions go about their business.