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Israel Adesanya could face ‘old and wrinkly’ TUF winner in next UFC outing

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Israel Adesanya could be back in the Octagon as soon as April.

“Style Bender” scored an emphatic second-round TKO win in his promotional debut at UFC 221 against Rob Wilkinson.

No stranger to a packed schedule, Adesanya insisted that he could fight next weekend if the UFC asked him to, but hopes to be booked on the same card as teammate Daniel Hooker for his sophomore outing.

“I’m fresh,” Adesanya told Ariel Helwani on the latest episode of The MMA Hour.

“I could fight this weekend. I could fight next weekend. I’m trying to get on the same card as my teammate Dan Hooker, so we can fight on the same card and kill two birds with one stone; or kill two men with one stone.

“We’ll see. I want to fight as soon as possible. I don’t like being inactive. You might not know this but in 2016 I fought over 20 times. Name me another Western fighter — apart from the Thais because they’re crazy — but another Western fighter that can fight over 20 times in a year? MMA, kickboxing and I might have done two boxing fights as well.”

According to Adesanya, there have already been discussions to see him back in the Octagon in April.

“I’m not sure, I know it might be April from the word I got from Dan. But I don’t mind, short notice if someone falls out, I’m your guy,” he said.

He revealed that the idea of him facing a TUF winner has been batted around, but he forgot the name of the potential opponent that was discussed.

“I don’t know… I think they said he’s an Ultimate Fighter winner...I don’t know. He looks like Fabio, old and wrinkly, but I can’t remember his name. That was one of the names that was mentioned.”

How the UFC will handle the spectacular striker has been a hot topic since his promotional bow. Adesanya is open to beating a few “bums”, but expects to be in the top 10 of the middleweight rankings by the end of 2018.

“I don’t think they’re going to do that,” he replied when asked if he thought the UFC would fast track him to the title. “They see what they’re messing with. You see McGregor now, in his second fight he fought Max Holloway, the current featherweight champ, Max is no joke.

“The guy who they said won The Ultimate Fighter, that’s one of them. I wish I could remember his name now. We’ll see. I’ve never had the opportunity to be catered to by any company ever. I’ll take whoever, it’s all easy fights anyway. Probably at the end of this year I will be top 10. Once they see the next fight they’re going to say, ‘We can’t keep feeding him guys that aren’t on his level’.

“I don’t know. Maybe for three fights, yeah, I’ll whoop some guys, beat a few bums and then I’ll be into the top 15, then the top 10 and we’ll go from there.”

Style Bender says he could make his second UFC walk in April.