Since scoring a TKO win over Anderson Silva, Jared Cannonier has been unable to secure an opponent for his next fight. In fact, Cannonier claims that four fighters turned him down for one date alone.
Appearing on this week's Ariel Helwani's MMA Show, Cannonier explained the issue in detail, even naming some of the recent culprits. “From my perspective, we’re all fighters. We all have a job to do so picking and choosing fights is one thing I’ve never done. I’ll fight whoever comes along. I understand people have to consider their career if they’re trying to get to a title shot and all that stuff but in this division, if you wanna get to a title shot you’re gonna have to meet me eventually.
"The longer you wait, the worse it’s gonna be so you better come see me now or wait until it’s gonna be damn near impossible to beat me. With that being said, I don’t want to say that people are scared. I’m not here to say that anyone’s scared or anything like that. I’m not gonna do that, that’s not my place to do that. One thing I will say is that I would like for somebody to step up so I can get paid so I can pay my bills."
Cannonier went on to tell Helwani that the issue has even prevented him from filling one half of a UFC main event. “We just missed an opportunity to headline a card and four people said no to that one. To headline a card, I mean that puts you in place to get big bucks right there. You do good headlining a card then at least for me, that’d put me in a better place financially.”
'The Killa Gorilla' is referencing UFC Fight Night San Antonio. The July 20th event was without a main event for quite some time but that slot has recently been filled, with Rafael dos Anjos taking on Leon Edwards. Cannonier was hesitant to name the fighters in question but eventually pointed to two active Middleweights in particular: 'Jacare' Souza and Jack Hermansson. While certainly not suggesting that his foes are scared, Cannonier isn't interested in excuses either.
“Whatever their reasons are, whether they’re ready, whether they’re injured, whether they want to fight someone that’s not ranked #10. Whatever the reasons are, it doesn’t matter. I wish they would’ve taken the fight, those would’ve been really good fights for me and for them. Good fights all around. Anytime I step in the octagon, it’s gonna create some footage that the UFC is gonna be happy with.
If you wanna be a part of that, if you wanna be in exciting fights so the UFC will keep putting you in fights, then I’m the one you need to talk to. It’s always gonna be exciting when I step in there," he said. “I don’t care why they say no, I just want you to say yes.”
In conclusion, Cannonier is frustrated but remains hopeful that he can secure a September fight with Kelvin Gastelum. With two wins since dropping to 185 lbs, Cannonier appears just one major win away from title contention.