Israel Adesanya Open to Eventual Bump to UFC Heavyweight After Jon Jones' Move

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2020

Nigeria's Israel Adesanya poses as he fights Brazil's Anderson Silva in their middleweight bout at the UFC 234 event in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Andy Brownbill/Associated Press

Israel Adesanya is willing to follow Jon Jones into the heavyweight division, but he still has more to prove at his current level.

The UFC middleweight champion described his plans to take on Jones in the future during his press conference Tuesday:

"Look how long it took him to move up to heavyweight. Finally. He was expecting me to do it straight away, but I hadn't defended my belt yet," Adesanya said. "I've defended my belt twice now, I'm going to defend it a few more times and then do what I set out to do."

The 31-year-old defeated Robert Whittaker for the unified middleweight title in 2019 and then defended it against Yoel Romero in March. He is now set to take on Paul Costa at UFC 253 in what Dana White predicted will be the Fight of the Year.

He still plans to move up weight classes eventually to face Jones.

"One hundred percent. It doesn't change my plans," Adesanya said. "My plan is still going forward as planned. So, yeah, same thing."

Jones and Adesanya have argued back and forth but are yet to battle in the Octagon, with Jones competing in the light heavyweight division and Adesanya in the middleweight. Jones is now ready to move further away with a jump to heavyweight, announcing Monday he will vacate his current title.

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Even at a bigger size, Adesanya has said in the past he is ready to face Jones.

"I've never given a f--k about weight," he told Submission Radio in February (h/t Alexander K. Lee of MMA Fighting). "Since when? It's never been an issue for me. I've been a heavyweight in boxing, in kickboxing. I'll do it in again in MMA. So, it's never been an issue for me.

"He can try and run to heavyweight, but I'll chase him down. I'll hunt him down if I have to."