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Israel Adesanya wants to clean out middleweight division, ‘then I’ll whoop Jon Jones’ ass’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Israel Adesanya knows he’s on a collision course with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, but the fight won’t happen until he’s ready for it to happen.

Just a few weeks removed from his second-round knockout against Robert Whittaker to unify the UFC middleweight title, Adesanya is still enjoying a bit of a victory tour. But he’s also started to look ahead toward his next fight.

“The Last Stylebender” is already targeting multi-time title contender Yoel Romero as his next opponent in early 2020 with middleweights such as Paulo Costa and Jared Cannonier in his sights as well.

Jones is one name not on his current hit list, because according to Adesanya, he’s got some work to do at middleweight before he sets his sights on a second UFC title.

“I just got my middleweight title in April, and I defended it for the first time in October,” Adesanya told MMA Fighting. “I want to defend my belt against all the middleweights that are the biggest threats supposedly before I jump up in weight. If Jon wants to fight me now, he’s got to come down to middleweight.

“I’ve got a plan. I never, ever deviate from my plans. He’s not going to make me move from what I have in my head first. I’ve got all these killers at middleweight to whoop first before I get to him, and then I’ll whoop Jon Jones’ ass.”

For all the trash talk they’ve traded in recent months, Adesanya isn’t going to attempt to settle a grudge with Jones before he’s truly prepared to compete at 205 pounds.

Adesanya is honest enough to know it’s going to take some time to make that adjustment, but he believes Jones is trying to angle for the fight now to give himself the competitive edge.

“He’s trying do what [Floyd] Mayweather did to ‘Canelo’ [Saul Alvarez],” Adesanya explained. “Mayweather fought ‘Canelo’ while he was still coming up [and] caught him early, so he’s trying that with me.

“Because he knows every f*cking time, I’m getting better and better and better, and he’s not. His time will come.”

While the potential fight with Jones is going on the backburner for now, the Nigerian-born champion doesn’t expect it will take him long to run through all the top contenders at middleweight, which then clears the way for a move to 205 pounds.

Adesanya has been one of the most active fighters on the UFC roster ever since first arriving with the promotion. It took him just seven fights over 20 months to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion, so he can only advise Jones to stay patient, because he’s confident they will see each other soon enough.

“Look at my first year in the company,” Adesanya said. “I got through five guys. That’s why I say 2021 whenever I talk about him. Because I’m not like guys who fight once or twice a year and then chill. I like to stay active.

“And he knows if he has to beat me, do it yesterday, because every single time you see me, I’m getting better and better and better.”

Adesanya obviously believes he’ll be ready for Jones by 2021, but he can’t say for certain that the current light heavyweight king will still be wearing his crown by then.

“It all depends on what his career is like, if he sticks around,” Adesanya said about Jones. “If he does something stupid and gets sent to jail or gets popped for some more picograms, all that sh*t. It’s up to him if he sticks around. I gave him a date — 2021 — by then I will have cleaned out the middleweight division. I just want to clean it out.

“I’ve done it in kickboxing, I’ve done it in boxing. After you clean out a division, you move up in weight. Has he done that? No. And even my coach isn’t interested in that fight. He wants me to go to fight the heavyweight champ but for me, I want to get that guy because I know some things people don’t.”