clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Morning Report: Eugene Bareman: Israel Adesanya ‘will definitely look to challenge’ Stipe Miocic if he can ‘get the business done at middleweight’

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Eugene Bareman will corner Israel Adesanya this weekend at UFC 276.

2019 was a phenomenal year for Israel Adesanya, who not only won the UFC middlweight title but also took home Fighter of the Year honors. But according to City Kickboxing’s head coach Eugene Bareman, things are only just beginning for “The Last Stylebender”.

Adesanya, who was recently named New Zealand’s Sportsman of the Year, is currently scheduled to defend his middleweight title against Yoel Romero at UFC 248. Should he get past Romero, Adesanya then ostensibly has a date against Paulo Costa, and after that, a number of other potential title contenders waiting in the wings. But according to Bareman, if things go according to plan, pretty soon Adesanya will be moving up in weight to challenge another champion, and it’s not the one you might expect.

“Israel stated, and I think it’s a very good plan, he’s gonna do his thing in the middleweight division,” Bareman told Submission Radio recently. “There’s some really tough challenges. He should clear those out. There’s at least three or four more good challenges. But three or four more fights for Israel is like maybe within this year. So, after that, what’s the next challenge? For him, and we’ve done it in all the sports that we’ve participated in, it’s to move up in weight. And trust me, if he has these three or four more middleweight fights, we will push to fight Stipe [Miocic], a hundred percent.

“Yeah, that’s the fight. . . If Israel can get the business done at middleweight, and if he’s successful he will definitely look to move and challenge Stipe. That’s a serious thing. But for us, we’re not paying immediate attention to it. There’s just so much that we have to put our concentration into now that it’s on the back burner. It’s in the back of our minds. So, yeah, let’s see if that hurries along Jon Jones [laughs].”

Bareman and Adesanya have previously thrown out heavyweight champion Miocic as a possible opponent but the public has been much more fixated on a bout between Adesanya and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Adesanya himself has said that he’ll challenge Jones in 2021 after defending his own title a few times, though Jones has derided the 185-pound champion for putting off their potential superfight. Ultimately though, Bareman says it’s not Adesanya’s call on when to fight Jones, it’s his own.

“I mean, that’s the thing, it’s not up to Israel. I make the decision on the fight,” Bareman said. “So, come 2021, Israel has to convince me that we should fight Jon Jones. And if I don’t feel that we have to, then it’s not gonna happen. It’s not even Israel’s call. . .

“There’s a lot of things that [Adesanya] would have to do [to convince me], and a lot of those things that he’d have to do to fight Jon start now, that’ve already started. There’s a lot of stuff that we have to do. For all of Jon Jones’ faults as a person, he’s still a very, very good fighter and to prepare for someone of that nature, who’s that good, the prep for that sort of fight starts now. Yeah, but I’ve already stated that I don’t think that fight’s necessary. . . I think we’re on a different path, I just think we’re on a different journey. Israel’s got a lot of convincing to do before that fight happens.”

Of course, this all depends on whether or not Adesanya can hold down the throne against the rising tide of middleweight contenders, and that first starts with Yoel Romero. Romero brings a style to the table that many believe will be the most difficult test for Adesanya. Even Bareman agrees that Romero poses a tougher test than Paulo Costa would have but in the end, he thinks that City Kickboxing’s great year will just keep on rolling.

“Well, we just believe that if we can implement the strategy and some of the skills that we want to against Romero, we believe that we can get another type of victory, in the sense that most victories that people get over Romero are controversial and very close. But we just see a different path,” Bareman said. “And that’s only, of course, if we’re able to implement our game plan. We believe that we can beat Romero a lot more convincingly than everybody else. At the end of the day, our goal is always the victory.”

“We want to Alex Volkanovski him. We want to win all five rounds convincingly with no doubt in anyone’s mind. That’s what Alex did, right? I think we can all agree on that. I know that that’s still controversial. I know there’s still people that think that fight’s close, but that’s ridiculous. Anyway, yeah, that’s the reference I use because Alex completely dominated that fight every single round. It wasn’t close. It was without a doubt. And we want to do the same thing. We never have a game plan to stop Romero. So, I’m more talking about just unanimously, without any doubt, beating him. That’s what we want to do.”

Adesanya will get his chance to do so against Romero at UFC 248 on March 7 in Las Vegas, Nev.


UFC Rio Rancho results. Jan Blachowicz wins Corey Anderson rematch with stunning first-round KO, calls out Jon Jones.

Contender. Jon Jones: Jan Blachowicz ‘very deserving’ of title shot after serving Corey Anderson a slice of ‘humble pie’.

Send location. Jan Blachowicz declares himself next for Jon Jones: ‘Give me the place and time’.

UFC Rio Rancho results. Michel Pereira loses by DQ after late foul on Diego Sanchez.

Feud. Colby Covington believes Jorge Masvidal will ‘price himself out’ to avoid fighting Kamaru Usman.


BKFC 10 highlights.

Jon on Jan’s win.

UFC Connected.

UFC Auckland prep.

Chael debating the big question.

An interesting look into some stats common to UFC champions.


6th Round. Immediate post-fight analysis of UFC Rio Rancho.

Severe MMA. Previewing Bellator Dublin and discussing the UFC’s return there.



View this post on Instagram

The funk don't quit!

A post shared by Corey 'Overtime' Anderson (@coreya_mma) on

There is no excuse. You can’t fight at 125.

Give that man a title shot.



I’m interested.


Bare Knuckle call out.



Celebrity Family Feud.


Leandro Higo (19-5) vs. Johnny Campbell (20-12, 1 NC); Bellator 241, March 13.

Killys Mota (12-1) vs. Nate Andrews (16-3); Bellator 241, March 13.

Fabricio Werdum (23-8-1) vs. Alexey Oleinik (58-13-1); UFC 250, May 9.


After Jon’s last few fights, I’m much more interested in seeing him fight Izzy. Not sure about Stipe though.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.



Who deserves the next shot at Jon Jones?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Dominick Reyes
    (426 votes)
  • 54%
    Jan Blachowicz
    (509 votes)
935 votes total Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @JedKMeshew on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram, add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting, and like us on Facebook.