We could be seeing Israel Adesanya back in the cage sooner rather than later.
Adesanya just scored a massive win over his rival Alex Pereira at UFC 287 to win back his middleweight title. It was a big fight and a big risk. “Poatan” was already 3-0 against “The Last Stylebender” in combat sports. A second loss in MMA would have knocked Izzy out of the championship circuit for the foreseeable future. But Adesanya dug deep and knocked Pereira out in the second round, regaining his spot atop the division.
Most champs would take some time off after such a nerve-racking stretch. But according to UFC president Dana White, Adesanya wants to turn right around and get back in the cage ASAP.
“This guy was already blowing Hunter and the boys up — ‘When’s my next fight, when’s my next fight, I want to fight again, I want to fight again,’” White said at the UFC Kansas City post-fight press conference. “I love that about Israel Adesanya. Israel Adesanya wants to fight non-stop, constantly. And he wants to fight everybody. So … yeah, we’re working on that and he’ll fight again soon, maybe before the end of the summer.”
Asked if the UFC had an opponent lined up, White said “Not yet. No sir, or I would have announced it.”
While anything is possible, Adesanya and his coach have both made statements shooting down another Alex Pereira fight. They also don’t sound to hot on the prospect of rematching Robert Whittaker or Marvin Vettori, guys Izzy has beaten twice. Khamzat Chimaev? Call them when he’s won a fight against a top five middleweight.
On the ‘maybe’ list: Sean Strickland and Dricus Du Plessis have been mentioned as possible opponents, if they manage to win their next fights. Jan Blachowicz sounds very serious about giving Adesanya a rematch at middleweight. And given the landscape at 205 pounds, maybe we see Izzy try for the light heavyweight title again, currently held by Jamahal Hill.
There’s certainly options … some definitely better than others. Who do you want to see Israel Adesanya fight next, Maniacs? Let us know in the comments.