If there is a dark horse in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight class, Israel Adesanya believes it is Jared Cannonier.
And if given a chance, the undisputed middleweight king would be happy to share the cage with a beast like the ‘Killa Gorilla.’
After unifying the middleweight titles at UFC 243 last month, Adesanya has been linked to a future fight with top contender, Paulo Costa.
Unfortunately, the Brazilian fighter, who is riding a 13-fight winning streak, was ruled ineligible for a title fight as he needs to sit out for eight months due to bicep injury.
With Costa out of the picture, the Kiwi-Nigerian champ has expressed interest on defending his throne against the Cuban powerhouse, Yoel Romero.
The 40-year old Romero has agreed to challenge Adesanya but UFC president Dana White said he has to score one win first before earning the next title shot.
Now in search for a potential challenger, Adesanya said ‘Killa Gorilla’ sounds a good choice.
The middleweight champ considered Cannonier as the ‘dark horse’ of 180 pounds and the second most dangerous guy after him.
Should Cannonier win his next fight, Adesanya said he deserves the next shot at the middleweight championship.
“100 percent I’m looking at him,” he told MMA Fighting in a recent interview.
“He’s a beast in the division. He’s the dark horse in the division. He’s the guy everyone is sleeping on but you can’t sleep on him because you’ll get put to sleep.
“I think he’s the guy, the second most dangerous guy in the division behind myself. I look forward to fighting him after his next fight.”
Cannonier currently ranks fourth in the middleweight standings.
He holds a 6-4 win-loss record in the UFC, with wins over Anderson Silva, David Branch and Nick Roehrick.
Most recently, he defeated Jack Hermansson in the main event of UFC Denmark, which extended his winning streak to three fights.
In terms of skill sets, Adesanya believes Cannonier has what it takes to sell the title fight, which the reigning champ wants to happen in the US soil.
“I was looking forward to my next fight, because that would have sold itself,”
“Because he [Costa] would try to trash talk me in his broken English, and I would embarrass him on the mic, and then eventually I’d embarrass him on the mat.”
“So that was already set in stone that it was going to be glorious.”
“But a guy like Cannonier, I don’t have to. The fight sells itself because of the skill set, and just people want to watch me.”
“Something about me that people just want to watch me get my ass kicked maybe. So they’ll be tuning in either way.”
“I do want it to be in America.”
“A lot of people want it to be in New Zealand, but I feel Dan Hooker should be the next guy to headline in New Zealand. I can take over the United States.”
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier)