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Israel Adesanya coach: Jon Jones is ‘as irrelevant as T.J. Dillashaw’

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Jon Jones
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Israel Adesanya vs. Jon Jones is still a possibility as far as Adesanya’s side is concerned, just don’t expect the middleweight champion to go begging for that booking anytime soon.

“The Last Stylebender” mad an unsuccessful move up to light heavyweight—the division that Jones ruled over for the better part of the last decade—on Saturday, losing a unanimous decision to current 205-pound champion Jan Blachowicz in the main event of UFC 259 in Las Vegas.

Though Jones is preparing for a move up to heavyweight, had Adesanya managed to attain dual-division championship status, talks of a bout between the two rivals would surely have heated up again. As it is, an Adesanya-Jones booking remains strictly hypothetical.

That’s just fine with Adesanya’s head coach Eugene Bareman, who recently told Submission Radio that as far as he’s concerned, Jones’ history of drug test failures removes him from the equation anyway.

“Once you cheat—Jon Jones is about as irrelevant as T.J. Dillashaw,” Bareman said when asked if Blachowicz’s win puts him at the very top of the light heavyweight hierarchy (transcription via Denis Shkuratov). “It’s like, to me they don’t exist. Is anything that T.J. Dillashaw did in the past relevant now that he’s cheated? No. No. It’s not any different for Jon Jones, so you can’t talk to me about Jon Jones. I have a particular opinion and that isn’t shared by the rest of the world.

“At the moment the greatest 205er is Jan Błachowicz. There’s no one else. There’s no one else as great as him.”

Bareman also wanted to dispel the notion that Adesanya’s chase of the light heavyweight title had anything to do with setting up a fight with Jones. The two have traded social media shots for the past two years as Adesanya’s star rose at middleweight and Jones continued his reign atop his own division.

Even given his disdain for Jones, Bareman understands why a potential clash with Adesanya is so intriguing and it’s because of that massive level of interest that he doesn’t think Adesanya’s loss to Blachowicz affects an Adesanya-Jones matchup at all.

“This fight had nothing to do with Jon Jones,” Bareman said. “The choice to take it had zero to do with Jon Jones. Jon Jones, that fight hasn’t fizzled away. Jon Jones is a businessman. Jon Jones understands how the pay-per-view market works and he understands where the money is, and that’s why this fight doesn’t fizzle away. Because at the end of the day, if it makes money, it makes sense. And Jon knows who the biggest star in the sport is at the moment and who can get him paid the most. That is why the fight won’t fizzle out.

“So Jon’s gonna—If he hasn’t already, I’m sure he’s probably been on social media and gone through all the antics that he usually does, but at the end of the day, the facts are the facts. The fight doesn’t fizzle out, because they’re the biggest guys in the sport and they bring in the most money and that’s why the fight still exists.”

Jones picked up on Bareman’s comments this week, taking to social media to tell the City Kickboxing head coach that Adesanya’s team that they should let this one go.

“Give it up coach,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “We’ve all seen your cards, your boy has almost no takedown defense or offense off his back.

“Now you’re just being a [clout trout], if you would honestly send him in there against a 260-pound wrestler after that last performance, you don’t care about his well-being.”

With Adesanya vs. Jones not in the cards for the foreseeable future, the current plan is for Adesanya to return to the 185-pound division where a number of challengers await him, including Darren Till and Kevin Holland, as well as past rivals Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa.

Should the day come that Adesanya makes a permanent move up to 205 pounds (Adesanya officially weighed in at 200.5 pounds for his fight with Blachowicz), Bareman knows that they’ll do it the right way next time. As it was, the fact that Adesanya always intended to drop back down to middleweight limited the changes he could make to his diet and training.

“With the putting on weight, look, our intention was always to go back to 185,” Bareman said. “If you know about this sport, if you know about the science of putting on weight, when you stack on a significant amount of muscle, then you try to take that muscle off and try to move back down to a weight, in 95 percent of cases throughout history, it ends up very bad. So we knew we were always coming down to 185 and so we knew we had to compete at basically our walk-around weight, basically our 185 weight for this to be successful. ... Next time we go to light heavyweight, we definitely stack on some weight and try to get our walkaround weight and our fight weight a little higher, for sure, to a proper light heavyweight limit.”

Watch Bareman’s full interview with Submission Radio here: