The Moment UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya failed to capture the light heavyweight belt when he moved up to 205 pounds for UFC 259, his dream fight with Jon Jones was also seemed to be off the table.
Adesanya (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC), the reigning middleweight champion, came up short in his bid to become a two-division titleholder last Saturday when he fell short of light-heavyweight gold vs. Jan Blachowicz (28-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) in the main event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC), who has been feuding with Adesanya for more than a year, was watching the fight closely. He tweeted multiple times throughout and by the end, it appeared his interest in fighting Adesanya was gone.
The consensus was that Adesanya, now 20-1 after suffering the first loss of his MMA career, spoiled his chance to challenge former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who recently moved up to heavyweight for a chance to battle the winner of Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou, who rematch at UFC 260 later this month.
Adesanya vs Jones still can happen
Many think that the superfight between Adesanya and Jones won’t take place but that’s not what Adesanya’s coach thinks.
“This fight had nothing to do with Jon Jones,” Bareman told Submission Radio not long after the Blachowicz vs. Adesanya fight. “Jon Jones, that fight hasn’t fizzled away. Jon Jones is a businessman. Jon Jones understands how the pay-per-view market works and he understands where the money is, and that’s why this fight doesn’t fizzle away. Because at the end of the day, if it makes money, it makes sense.
“Jon knows who the biggest star in the sport is at the moment and who can get him paid the most,” Bareman continued. “That is why the fight won’t fizzle out. So, Jon’s gonna, if he hasn’t already, I’m sure he’s probably been on social media and gone through all the antics that he usually does, but at the end of the day, the facts are the facts. The fight doesn’t fizzle out, because they’re the biggest guys in the sport and they bring in the most money, and that’s why the fight still exists.”
While Bareman believes there’s still plenty of appeal to an Adesanya vs. Jones matchup, not everyone agrees. Former two-division UFC champ Daniel Cormier, for example, feels the fight has lost its merit.
“Watching [Adesanya] do what he did at [middleweight] makes you believe he could go with anybody, and because of the skillset, you believe he could beat a Jones,” Cormier said on DC & Helwani.
“Today, after watching [UFC 259] last Saturday, I believe Jones would be too big for him,” Cormier added. “That fight, for as much intrigue as there was, for me, it doesn’t need to happen.”
Adesanya said after UFC 259 that he intends to return to the middleweight division to defend his title, while Jones appears poised to challenge the winner of the March 27 heavyweight title fight between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou.
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