The consensus is that Paulo Costa will be next for new, undisputed UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya. So, what’s Jared Cannonier thinking in terms of his next fight? After taking out top contender Jack Hermansson in impressive fashion last month?
Cannonier’s quick rise up the 185 ranks
After being stopped by Dominick Reyes in May, 2018, Cannonier decided the time was right to drop down from 205 to middleweight. Since then, the former heavyweight and light-heavyweight has put away David Branch, the legendary Anderson Silva and most recently, the aforementioned Hermansson. As a result of that run, Cannonier currently sits in the #5 position of the middleweight ranks.
Cannonier’s next bout
Due to this recent streak, many people believe the 35-year-old is one more win out from securing a title shot. So, with that in mind, Cannonier had this to say about his next fight,while talking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Monday (quotes via MMA Mania).
“Anybody ahead of me gets me closer to a title (fight). I would say a fight with Whittaker would put me closer to a title fight than a fight with any of those other guys. If I were to rank them or put them in a number or anything,” said Cannonier.
“So I would say Whittaker because he just lost the title. He didn’t look bad in his efforts. I thought he looked great,” said Cannonier while referencing Whittaker’s stoppage loss to Adesanya at UFC 243 this past weekend. “I think he will only look better especially for being off as long as he did. I think he will do better in his next outing.”
And what about fighting Yoel Romero? Which is another fight many observers and fans have relayed they’d love to see?
“Everybody is mentioning a fight against Romero. I don’t care either way, as long as it moves me forward and closer to the title. So if it has to be one fight that is going to get me to the title, then the one that will get me there.”
So, we’ll see what happens here. Since Romero has lost two of his last three fights, you could make the case that a win over Whittaker would go further, in terms of securing a title shot. But, if Cannonier did score an impressive win over Romero, it’s hard to imagine him getting past over for a crack at the 185 crown.
Cannonier currently carries an overall record of 13-4 and he’s gone 6-4 to date in the Octagon.