Israel Adesanya is not done chasing former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Jones recently vacated the title and announced his plans to move up to heavyweight. UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya still wants to fight Jones and is willing to move up to heavyweight.
“One hundred percent. It doesn’t change my plans,” Adesanya said at the recent virtual media day (via Jed Meshew of MMA Fighting). “My plan is still going forward as planned. So, yeah, same thing. Look how long it took him to move up to heavyweight, finally. Like I said, he was expecting me to do it straight away, when I hadn’t even defended my belt yet. I’ve defended my belt twice now, I want to defend it a few more times and then do what I set out to do. But, yeah, the pot calling the kettle black on his part. (Tsk tsk). Go put some f--king muscle on your chopstick legs and go fight Francis Ngannou and watch him break you. I hope he doesn’t, though. Maybe he does. Who knows?”
Adesanya has spent his entire professional MMA career at middleweight. The reigning champion first has to get past Paulo Costa at UFC 253, which Adesanya confidently says will earn him a Performance of the Year award.
“I think a performance of the year, shutout of the year, shut down of the year maybe,” Adesanya said. “‘Fight of the Year?’ I’ve already had that in my back pocket, but if it happens again – I just don’t think it’s going to happen just because of the situation. You have to be smart enough to put it together. This guy gasses after the first round. We’ve got five rounds. Look at me in all my fights in the fifth round, in the fourth round, the third round, the later rounds – I’m always fresh. So, yeah, precision is going to be the key in this fight. Precision, skill and just taking him out one by one.”
UFC 253 takes place on Saturday, September 26. Adesanys vs. Costa will headline the card. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.