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Morning Report: Israel Adesanya still wants Yoel Romero next, says UFC thinks the fight won’t sell

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After knocking out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 to claim the undisputed middleweight title, Israel Adesanya was supposed to face fellow undefeated middleweight Paulo Costa next. Costa was even sitting ringside for the bout to hype their showdown up but unfortunately, the injury bug intervened. Costa injured his arm, requiring surgery that will keep him out until at least April of next year, and in the meantime, top contender Yoel Romero called for a title fight in the interim. Adesanya was more than receptive to the idea, but the only problem is, the UFC isn’t.

Speaking with TMZ Sports recently, Adesanya revealed that he still wants to face Romero next but that the UFC isn’t keen on it because it doesn’t think it will sell well.

“Man, I already called the guy out,” Adesanya said when asked about Romero saying he was backing out of the fight. “That’s what they say. That’s what they all say. I already said it on JRE [The Joe Rogan Experience], I’ve never ever backed out from anyone. I’ve never backed down, never will. He’s f*cking getting told by his manager to say that. Why else? Yeah, I’ve called the guy out, I’ve said I want to fight him, the UFC don’t think that’s going to sell, but f*ck records, I just want to fight. I want Yoel, but if they can’t make that happen we have some ideas. Business in order.”

Romero is currently the third-ranked middleweight contender, however, he’s only 1-3 in his last four. He also is arguably the most dangerous possible challenge for the newly crowned champion which is why Adesanya says he wants the fight.

“I said I want Yoel,” Adesanya said. “F*ck records, he’s a great fighter. I want to beat all the greatest of this era. I’ve taken Whittaker, I’ve taken Gastelum, I’ve taken Silva... So hopefully, [he’s next]. Dana’s the one. I don’t know what his manager is telling him. I’ve said I want to fight him. I’ve never backed down. I’ll see you soon, boy.”

Of course, there’s another opponent fans have started calling for Adesanya to face next, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Jones and Adesanya have become increasingly heated at one another in public and Jones recently sided with Romero when “The Soldier of God” claimed that Adesanya backed out of a fight with him. But despite their increasing beef, Adesanya says fans, and Jones, will have to wait for that superfight.

“Eh, psh. He will face me eventually but I’m going to respect the game,” Adesanya said. “I’m going to do what got me to the dance which is honor the game and defend my belt. I mean, he didn’t jump up to heavyweight right after he won the belt. F*ck, you know? I want to do the work. If he wants to come down, come see me boy. If not, shut the f*ck up and wait ’til I come see you.

“We’ll fight when we fight and I’ll see you when I see you. I don’t care [if he loses], we’ll still fight at the end of the day. I’m not going to move too fast because I’ve always had a plan and I never deviate from the plan. I’ll stick to my guns.”


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