Israel Adesanya might skip fighting Jon Jones at 205 pounds as he and his camp are setting their sights on a massive heavyweight clash with Stipe Miocic.
The reigning middleweight champ has been in a war of words with Jones since claiming he wants to hunt another mixed martial arts ‘GOAT’ after defeating Anderson Silva earlier last year.
Adesanya has turned himself from a mere prospect to a legit MMA star after winning seven straight fights in the UFC since 2018 including victories against Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight championship and against Robert Whittaker for the undisputed middleweight title.
According to his head coach, Eugene Bareman, a super fight with Jones may not be on the card as the heavyweight class might be Adesanya’s next destination after sweeping the 185-pound division.
Speaking to Submission Radio, Bareman said Adesanya will try to defend his middleweight belt three times this year before moving up to 265 pounds.
Adesanya is no stranger to fighting in the heavyweight class.
During his kickboxing career, the Nigerian fighter won the King In The Ring 100 Heavyweight Tournament.
This is why Bareman does not see him having a difficult time transitioning to a new weight class in the UFC.
“Fighting at heavyweight is not a problem for Israel,” the MMA coach said (via MMA Junkie).
“He’s not going to weigh heavyweight. That wouldn’t be what our advantage is. He would never weigh at what a heavyweight would (weigh).”
“We’d fight at our walk-around weight, which is like barely past what the middleweight limit is.
“But Israel stated, and I think it’s a very good plan, he’s going to do his thing in the middleweight division. 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?”
Continuing, Bareman said: “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, 100 percent.”
The City Kickboxing coach said he is the one to decide whether Adesanya fights Jones or Miocic in 2021, but he is more confident with the chances of the heavyweight title fight taking place.
“I mean, that’s the thing – it’s not up to Israel.”
“I make the decision on the fight. 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 going to happen. It’s not even Israel’s call.”
“That’s the fight,” Bareman said, referring to Miocic heavyweight bout.
“I mean, I was half joking to get the attention off all this Jon Jones stuff, but that’s a serious – I’m making a claim there – serious stake.”
“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.”
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Stipe Miocic and Israel Adesanya)