In some rather surprising footage which has surfaced this morning, middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya and UFC heavyweight kingpin, Jon Jones appear to have put their long-standing differences behind them, meeting and sharing a cordial hug and laugh.
Adesanya, a two-time and current undisputed middleweight champion under the banner of the UFC, managed to reclaim the division title at UFC 287 back in April – taking home a spectacular second round KO win over arch-rival, Alex Pereira.
As for Jones, the Endicott native, who is also a former two-time undisputed light heavyweight titleholder, snapped a three-year-plus Octagon hiatus back in March at UFC 285 – taking a vacant heavyweight championship win against former interim gold holder, Ciryl Gane – submitting the Frenchman with a first round guillotine choke win.
However, continually linked with a future pairing, Israel Adesanya and Jon Jones have been on somewhat of a collision course, particularly prior to the latter’s rise to the heavyweight limit.
Israel Adesanya and Jon Jones meet in a rather bizarre confrontation
Attempting to squash any rivalry, Israel Adesanya claimed he was a “fan” of the two-weight gold holder, but insisted that neither of them particularly liked each other.
However, this Thursday morning, footage emerged of Israel Adesanya and Jon Jones embracing and hugging – with the former informing the heavyweight champion, “It’s all love, baby.”
Yet to be booked for his second outing of the year, Adesanya is expected to appear at UFC 290 this weekend during International Fight Week – with the view of facing either former champion and two-time opponent, Robert Whittaker, or rival, Dricus du Plessis in a title fight before the end of the year, with the bout billed as an official title-eliminator.
As for Jones, the veteran has played up a potential impending retirement ahead of his expected Octagon return at UFC 295 in November at Madison Square Garden, in a potential title defense against Stipe Miocic or Sergei Pavlovich.