Adesanya to Jones: Come fight me at 185 pounds

MMA news

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is ready to fight light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, but only on one condition.

“If he wants to fight me right now, come see me at 185 (pounds, the middleweight limit),” Adesanya said Monday on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “I’ll let him jump the queue, cuz he’s the champ at that weight class.”

Adesanya reiterated he can see moving up to take a fight with Jones in 2021 at Allegiant Stadium, which will be the home of the Raiders in Las Vegas.

“This is my new belt, it’s 185,” Adesanya said. “I’m the champ at that weight class and I already have a plan to clean out the division, like he has done in his division.

“But he hasn’t moved up in weight. I’ve done it in boxing, I’ve done it in kickboxing, I’ll do it in MMA eventually.”

In the meantime, Adesanya hinted the UFC may not be thrilled with the marketing aspects of having him defend his belt against Yoel Romero, who is ESPN’s No. 5-ranked middleweight but has lost three of his last four.

“I want to fight the guy, but how are you going to sell a fight to the public that they know the guy lost three of his last four?” Adesanya said. “He’s missed weight, pulled out a lot over the years. How you going to sell that to the people and say he deserves a shot at the champ.”

Adesanya wants to fight in February or March. He hinted there could be a surprise name involved as a possible opponent.

“Some people can fight in the meantime and get ready by February or March,” he said. “We’re talking right now. Things are behind the wall, in the works. I don’t want to give anything away.”

One fighter whom he expects to face at some point is Jared Cannonier, but he doesn’t think ESPN’s current No. 6-ranked middleweight is quite ready.

“I think the darkhorse of the division is Jared Cannonier,” he said. “I saw him (at UFC 244 on Saturday), and we shook hands. He’s a nice guy, so soft I love his energy. I said I can’t wait to fight you, we’ll get this done eventually.

“And I think he needs one more fight just because you got to get him over the line. The stock has to be right.”

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