Israel Adesanya is still open to a superfight with pound-for-pound No. 1 Jon Jones, but ‘The Last Stylebender’ won’t be moving up in weight until he’s cleared out the middleweight division.
Adesanya, who KO’d Robert Whittaker last month to unify the UFC middleweight titles, said if Jones is so desperate to fight him right now, he’ll have to make the cut to 185.
“Jon Jones? Nah,” Adesanya said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show (h/t Abhinav Kini of Low Kick MMA). “See, this is my new belt, 185. I’m the champ at that weight class. I need to clean out my division.
“If he wants to fight me right now, come see me at 185. I’ll let him jump the queue. Because he’s the champ at that weight class, I’ll let him jump the queue. But let me do my work. I already said 2021.”
Adesanya believes Jones wants the fight now, as opposed to waiting until he has a few title defenses to his name, because ‘Bones’ feels threatened by how fast ‘The Last Stylebender’ is improving. In a couple more years, when Adesanya reaches his prime, Jones knows he will have a much tougher fight on his hands than he does now.
“He’s a smart man,” Adesanya said. “You see Canelo now, what he did to Kovalev? People are like ‘oh he’s the new pound-for-pound’. I’m like ya’ll must have forgot, you remember the Mayweather fight? Mayweather did what Jon Jones was trying to do to me which is show his hands early. Fight him when he’s still young, still fresh.
“His coaches see the growth. They see me fight after fight after fight because I’m fighting so often. They’re like ‘man, this guy is getting better every time. If we’re going to beat him, we got to beat him yesterday. Day before yesterday because every time he’s getting better.’ They’re smart but I’m saying, hey, if you want to see me, come see me.”
Adesanya and Jones are both expected to defend their respective titles in the new year.