Israel Adesanya is patiently waiting for his next big challenge.
The two-time UFC middleweight champion finally overcame his top combat sports rival Alex Pereira in his last time out at UFC 287 this past April. After succumbing to an 0-3 score in favor of Pereira across kickboxing and MMA competitions, Adesanya knocked out “Poatan” in round two of their fourth overall encounter and MMA rematch.
Adesanya reclaimed his 185-pound throne with the sensational stoppage, therefore, putting the Pereira saga behind him — for now — as the former champion heads to light heavyweight. The next middleweight title challenger is expected to come out of the Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis matchup at UFC 290 on July 8. However, top-ranked welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev has continually teased not only a move back up to 185 pounds but an interest in fighting Adesanya. While “The Last Stylebender” still targets a newly developed grudge match with Du Plessis, he likes all of these options in front of him.
“Trust me, I’m not scared of nobody on this f***** planet. No one,” Adesanya said on IMPAULSIVE. “And also, guess what, I like a challenge. [Chimaev] presents something unique that — I’ve seen wrestlers before. It’s a big fight. That’s why I like that. Cheddar makes it better. But he’s got Kamaru [Usman] and after that is probably gonna go for the title [if he wins].
“I’ve got bigger fish to fry. I’m gonna be there in July [for UFC 290] and I’mma see what’s up. Not with Rob, with Du Plessis.”
Usman vs. Chimaev isn’t official at present but has been floated around and mentioned by UFC President Dana White. Both fighters have teased their interest in the pairing. The only point of contingency appears to be the weight class it would take place in.
Chimaev’s current limbo comes as a result of his massive 7.5-pound weight miss ahead of his last scheduled fight with Nate Diaz at welterweight in September. The mishap caused a full shuffle to the top of the card, which ultimately led “Borz” to a first-round d’arce choke victory against Kevin Holland in a 180-pound catchweight affair. Even before all the weight turmoil with the undefeated Chechnyan superstar, Chimaev was all about getting his hands on Adesanya.
“He said some s*** in the past,” Adesanya said. “He always tweets after my fights anyway but I don’t respond to nonsense. Everyone does. I’m the champ. Even when Pereira took the belt, I was still the champ. I wasn’t the UFC champion, but they still called me champ on the streets because I’m me. I’m Israel Adesanya. I have that name, that target on my back no matter what and I said that even leading up to this last fight.
“People were like, ‘Ah, do you feel the pressure has been taken off you now that you’ve lost the belt?’ I was like, nah. I’m still Israel Adesanya. I’m still ‘The Last Stylebender.’ They want to fight me because I’m one of the greatest in this game right now, and they want to have me on their mantle piece or that name like, ‘Yeah, I beat him’ or ‘I fought him.’”
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Old school Aldana.
Bellator champs at their best.
Only in KSW.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Beneil Dariush and Kron Gracie grappling in 2012 pic.twitter.com/OtGYYibm6B— MMA Mania (@mmamania) June 6, 2023
“Sweat, baby, sweat.”
Signs of a good training session pic.twitter.com/FSO9WUWxrJ— Casey Oneill (@kingcaseymma) June 6, 2023
Playing around with this clinch drill I came up with today pic.twitter.com/XIZ3LTLH4I— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) June 6, 2023
Charles came into the UFC with a 12-0 record— Ocelot MMA (@Ocelot_MMA) June 6, 2023
At 18 years old he won a Welterweight Grand Prix
Defeating 3 men in one night, all via finish.
These fight are hard to find but I thought this vid was worth including as context for Charles pre UFC. pic.twitter.com/HIBtMH89vp
The R word.
If the term Robbery is thrown around to much in MMA, which I tend to agree.— Damien Brown (@beatdown155) June 7, 2023
Would the word robbery be reasonable if we referred only to Round 4 ? This was after all the round that changed the outcome of the fight due to judging negligence #UFCVegas74 https://t.co/Ync85GKITd
Obligatory poster-signing video.
A.J. Dobson (6-2, 1 NC) vs. Tafon Nchukwi (6-3); UFC Vegas 78, Aug. 12
Gaston Bolaños (7-3) vs. Marcus McGhee (7-1); UFC Vegas 78, Aug. 12
I love the idea of an Adesanya vs. Chimaev matchup. That’s about as perfect of a scenario as the UFC could ask for. The only problem is, you’re running a similar risk to Pereira if he doesn’t get through the proper elite middleweights. But it’s probably safer that way? Only one way to find out...
Thanks for reading!
Which matchup interests you most for Israel Adesanya?
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Dricus Du Plessis
Robert Whittaker 3