UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya may not be targeting a fight with Jon Jones, but he remains hopeful he can fight with pound-for-pound No.1 down the line
Israel Adesanya is confident that his long-awaited fight with Jon Jones will happen – but thinks the pound-for-pound No.1 is “getting fat for no reason”.
The UFC middleweight champion Adesanya has been linked to a fight with Jones for the past few years, with the two men trading words with each other on several occasions during that time.
But with Adesanya fighting back at middleweight after his light heavyweight loss to Jan Blachowicz and Jones being inactive since February last year, a fight between the two seems unlikely to happen any time soon.
An ongoing pay dispute between the UFC and Jones has meant the former UFC light heavyweight kingpin has still not made his highly anticipated heavyweight debut.
But ‘Bones’ did tease an eventual return to the octagon next year when he recently tweeted: “Champion2022”.
However, Adesanya isn’t so hopeful. Whilst talking recently with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, he said he doesn’t think Jones will ever fight in the heavyweight division.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to see Jon Jones fight at heavyweight. F***, he’s been saying this since 2013. You either get it done or you don’t,” he said.
“For me, I jumped up [a division] within three years of [being with] the company. I jumped into the division ahead of me. The guys up there respect me — even the champion up there gave me my props.
“So yeah, I just think it’s not something that anyone can do. And he’s getting fat for no reason now.”
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After an unsuccessful bid at light heavyweight gold when he fought Blachowicz in March, Adesanya moved back down to middleweight to defend his belt against Marvin Vettori in June.
‘The Last Stylebender’ is still undefeated at 185-pounds, going 10-0 in the weight class since being signed for the UFC in 2018.
Jones’ last two wins have come by controversial split decisions against Dominick Reyes and Thiago Santos.
And on a potential fight with Jones, Adesanya thinks the two will meet in the octagon but just not yet.
“The story’s not told yet, Ariel. The story’s still out there,” he continued.
“I see it. I see it 100 percent. But that’s the thing. You’ve got to know when to hold them, you’ve got to know when to fold them, and the song is not over yet. So stay tuned. We’ll fight one day. I don’t know where or how it’s going to happen.
“I just have an idea of what’s going to happen. But yeah, see if he moves up in weight first. See if he moves up in weight first and deals with these guys there. I think he can, but does he think he can?”