Newly ascended interim UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya rocked the mixed martial arts (MMA) world when he outlasted Kelvin Gastelum over five rounds in the co-main event of last Saturday’s (April 13, 2019) UFC 236 from Atlanta, Georgia.
Adesanya and Gastelum left it all in the Octagon that night, trading huge punches (highlights here) in a fight that became a legitimate instant classic. Adesanya dug deep and went to a place he hadn’t been in his UFC career thus far – a place where he was rocked and in serious trouble. Gastelum stunned him with a high kick to the neck in the fourth round and nearly finished ‘The Last Stylebender.’
Like a true champion, however, Adesanya came back and almost finished Gastelum in the insane fifth round. He came out on top with the interim middleweight gold in tow after only 14 months in the promotion. Adesanya is now set to move on to a high-profile title unification bout with undisputed champion Robert Whittaker in Australia sometime later this year.
Yet it’s a burgeoning rivalry with another even larger personality that is gaining headlines. With the seeds of a rivalry planted before UFC 236, it became an official possibility when light heavyweight champion Jon Jones downplayed Adesanya’s win on social media after the fight.
On To Jones’ Plan
Adesanya appeared on today’s episode of “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” to discuss his title-clinching win, but the discussion soon shifted to Jones. Adesanya said Jones is looking to fight him now before he reaches his full potential. He said ‘Bones’ came off as not the nicest:
In his view, Adesanya is only going to get better as he racks up fights and potentially title defenses as champion. That’s why Jones wants the fight now, as he’s a ‘bully’:
Adesanya took the gloves off a bit by truly diving into some nasty trash talk. He called himself a ‘good c*nt’ while calling ‘Bones’ a ‘sh*t c*nt’:
Finally, ‘The Last Stylebender’ compared his path to that of a video game. He’s player one, he said, and the great Jones is the final boss:
It’s appearing like these two facing off in the UFC is becoming an eventuality. There’s no doubt it would be a highly anticipated fight sure to generate incredible buzz and pay-per-view success.
Adesanya is smartly taking it slow in the early days of his title reign, however, as he knows a challenge like Jones is no easy task. First, he has to defeat Whittaker, and he needs much-deserved some time off before he takes on that challenge.