All top-ranked middleweights in the UFC have a vested interest in what Israel Adesanya does next. But unlike most, Jack Hermansson isn’t all that upset that the reigning champion is expected to move up a division to challenge for a second title in 2021.
Following a lopsided win for Adesanya over Paulo Costa in September, UFC President Dana White revealed plans to have “The Last Stylebender” move up to 205 pounds for a fight against new light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.
While the fight is still not officially signed, everybody involved expects Adesanya to face Blachowicz sometime next year. It will give Adesanya the opportunity join a very rare club in the UFC as a two-division champion holding both championships simultaneously.
Adesanya’s attempt to win a second title will delay anybody competing for middleweight gold until sometime deep into 2021 but Hermansson actually sees the opportunity involved with an even bigger fight while taking on a two-division champion.
“If he will fight Jan in the first half of next year, then he will defend his middleweight belt at the end of next year, that will be all right,” Hermansson explained when speaking to MMA Fighting during the UFC Vegas 16 media day. “Especially if he wins, he becomes the undefeated double-champ.
“I would like to fight a guy like that. I’m hoping he can pull it off and he will be able to fight in middleweight next year.”
First things first, Hermansson needs to earn a shot at the title and he hopes to take a step closer towards that goal with his fight against Marvin Vettori this weekend.
Originally, Hermansson was scheduled to face Darren Till but the former welterweight title contender suffered an injury that forced him out of their fight. Hermansson was then briefly attached to a showdown with Kevin Holland before contracted COVID-19 and Vettori was finally named as his opponent.
According to Hermansson, several ranked opponents actually turned down the opportunity to face him in the main event this weekend but after Holland dropped out and Vettori stepped in, he was happy with the way things worked out.
“It was a little bit frustrating at first,” Hermansson said. “But then when I accepted Kevin Holland, you leave that behind and you don’t think about it anymore. Then I got a new opponent and he has a number beside his name so that’s good.
“Definitely some frustration in the process there when I had to accept Kevin Holland to get the fight.”
If there’s an added bonus to Vettori as his opponent on Saturday, Hermansson will compete against a second consecutive fighter who’s previously given Adesanya an incredibly tough night at the office.
In his last fight, Hermansson tapped out Kelvin Gastelum with a lightning quick first-round submission after he engaged in a five-round war against Adesanya in 2019. Meanwhile, Vettori took the middleweight champion to a split-decision when they clashed in 2018.
Add to that through 20 professional fights, Vettori has never been finished. Hermansson knows if he can put the Italian middleweight away, it will send a strong message not only to Adesanya, but the rest of the division that he’s coming for that belt.
“I feel like if I finish Marvin Vettori, I’m going to do something nobody else has been doing,” Hermansson said. “I’ve done it before with people that was never finished and I feel like I’m going to pull it off this time. If I do, I definitely feel like I will show everybody that I am on that next level and I do deserve to fight for the title.”