After begging the UFC for an opportunity to prove himself against a top ranked opponent, the Italian middleweight made the most of a short-notice fight with Hermansson by winning a unanimous decision after five rounds.
During his post-fight interview, Vettori wasted no time looking ahead at what comes next, mentioning interest in a potential showdown against former title contender Paulo Costa. Minutes later, Vettori recanted that request once he had a little bit more time to get the lay of the land in the middleweight division.
“To be honest with you, before I called out ‘Borrachinha’ (Paulo Costa), but f*ck ‘Borrachinha,’ he just came out of a crazy loss,” Vettori said at the post-fight press conference. “Why would I even fight him? I want to go straight to the title. I’ll be really honest. I like the fight, but I feel top-five there’s no opposition. There’s no real opposition.
“[Jared] Cannonier just lost. Darren Till, I don’t know, I don’t even think he’s top-five. ‘Borrachinha’ just lost brutally and who else is there? Jack was No. 4. [Robert] Whittaker wants to just enjoy Christmas with his kids, which I don’t blame him, but it doesn’t seem like he really wants to fight for the title.”
In his most recent outing, Costa did suffer a second-round TKO loss to Adesanya after they spent months involved in a volatile rivalry.
Meanwhile, Vettori has his own history with the reigning UFC middleweight champion following a split decision with Adesanya back in 2018. After coming up short that night, Vettori vowed to eventually earn a rematch, and now, it appears he might be closer than ever to attaining that goal.
“Israel is full of sh*t,” Vettori said. “He was like, ‘Oh I don’t think I will ever see Marvin again, he will never make it to the title.’ Well guess what motherf**ker? I’m here.
“He thinks he has it all figured out. He’s got nothing figured out. I know his true colors. I met him a few times. I fought him. I know his true colors. I want that fight.”
Of course, Vettori’s request for an immediate title shot might run into a bit of a brick wall considering Adesanya is currently expected to move up to 205 pounds for a fight against light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in early 2021.
Nothing has been made official yet, but both Adesanya and Blachowicz have expressed public interest in the fight after UFC President Dana White first mentioned his plans to pit champion against champion.
Still, Vettori scoffs at the idea that Adesanya is going to jump the line at light heavyweight, especially with a true No. 1 contender at 205 pounds already waiting in line for a shot at Blachowicz.
“Glover Teixeira deserves that fight,” Vettori said. “[Adesanya] shouldn’t fight for the light heavyweight title. I think Glover Teixeira’s going to get that fight.”