Dana White says Israel Adesanya has some work to do yet at 185, but the UFC President sounds very keen on seeing the new interim middleweight champ throw hands with Jon Jones.
Adesanya took on Kelvin Gastelum in the co-headliner of UFC 236 last night, and won the thrilling war via unanimous decision. The rising star is expected to face the current champ, Robert Whittaker, later this year.
Well, during fight week, Adesanya turned heads by saying he intends to face and defeat Jones down the road, as he did with another great, Anderson Silva. Those comments didn’t sit too well with the light-heavyweight champ, who responded to Adesanya with a fiery tweet.
As a result, Adesanya was asked about the possibility of facing Jones during the post-fight press. While “The Last Stylebender” punted on answering the question, by noting he wanted to talk about Saturday’s fight, White said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“(Adesanya has) got Whittaker to look forward to now,” White said. “Whittaker is a bad dude…
“I know him and Jon Jones have been talking some smack, and listen, if he wins, and he becomes the middleweight champion, obviously I’d love to see him and Jon Jones fight. But we’ll see how everything plays out and timing. Because the other thing is if Israel fights Whittaker and wins, there’s other guys that have been waiting in line, too, to fight for the title. If (Ronald) ‘Jacare’ (Souza) keeps winning and doesn’t get a title fight, that guy might kill me.
“But that Jon Jones fight is going to be out there for Israel no matter what. That ain’t going anywhere.”
There you have it. Clearly, we have moved past the days of fighters needing to ‘clean out’ the division before moving up or down to face another champ. That was White’s standard response for years, and while he did note that there are other guys “waiting in line”, the fact he didn’t mention this is kind of telling. After all, aside from “Jacare”, the division has the likes of Yoel Romero, Paula Costa, and Chris Weidman.
Now, is anyone complaining that Jones and Adesanya could fight, say, sometime in 2020? Probably not. But, Adesanya has some serious tests ahead of him before facing “Bones” is even a possibility.