UFC 236 saw two interim champs crowned: Dustin Poirier winning the interim lightweight belt and Israel Adesanya winning the interim middleweight championship. The news coming from this weekend should have been all about these two, but it wasn’t. Leading up to his fight with Kelvin Gastelum, Israel Adesanya found himself in a twitter beef with light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones.
The beef started last month, when Jon Jones said he “has a feeling” he will fight Adesanya one day, which prompted Adesanya to reply in kind, “It does make me feel some type of way. I like challenges. [Jones] is the GOAT right now, right? I’ve already killed one GOAT, I’m hunting the next.”
This type of banter is good for the sport, especially when fighters are looked at or compared to each other with similar fighting styles like Jon and Israel. Jon being the type of guy he is responded to Israel via Twitter with this gem, “If you think you killed 44 yr. old Anderson, you didn’t. I’m not really sure what fight you’ve been watching. You got past the legendary GOAT, now come f*ck with the king of the jungle. I’ll make you call me daddy by the third.” This is classic Jon, he takes up for Anderson Silva, who he admires and considers by far the greatest fighter in UFC history.
But Adesanya wouldn’t back down, he came back at Jon on the Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, saying “he’s a bully” and spitting even more venom when he said, “I’m a good c*nt. He’s a shit c*nt.” This kind of trash talk is usually served up when a guy is about to fight the guy he is talking about. These two guys are not in the same weight class. Israel doubled down later in this interview when he said, “No one really cares about him. I’m everything he wished he was, I’m everything he wished he would have been. Like ‘Ooooh, I want to thank God’ and meanwhile he’s in the back (makes snorting noise) and hiding under a cage to avoid USADA.” This was cold but also great at the same time. Cold because him bringing up Jon past transgressions, but great because he is comparing himself to Jon.
Jon basically ended the beef by saying, “Bro how are you going to call me out talking about you’re “hunting the goat”, and then call me a bully for replying to you?? You sound like you know you can’t beat me right now, so if that’s the case, keep my name out your mouth and we won’t have these problems.” He finished up this juicy back and forth by finally saying, “Basically. Next topic, I won’t even reply to his response. He’s [already] shown me his stripes… Ain’t Ready.”
This is great for the fans as both are looked at as generational talents with superb skills inside the Octagon. That being said, how would a matchup play out between the two inside the cage?
I think this fight would come down to what weight will they fight at? If it’s a catchweight fight, let’s just say at 195-pounds or under, I would give the edge to Adesanya as he probably walks around at the weight allowing him to maintain his power and speed. Jon has probably never fought under light heavyweight. The additional weight cut would affect Jon’s performance and this would definitely show up in the later rounds. I would say Adesanya wins by decision in a catchweight fight.
Now if they fight at 205-pounds, Jon would dominate Adesanya. He has proven to be a master fighter at this weight class beating the likes of Daniel Cormier, Rashad Evans, Alexander Gustafsson and Vitor Belfort. Jones has found a way to make his opponents look pedestrian when they fight him. His unique striking, strong leg kicks, sharp elbow strikes, reach advantage and strong wrestling are all tools he can use during his fights. Where most fighters have one, maybe two, some may have three tools in their toolbox. Jon seems to have more in his box and utilizes all of them. I think he would beat Adesanya with his wrestling as we have not seen Adesanya fight off his back to-date and he would be forced to carry Jon’s weight while on the mat. I think Jones would finish the young guy in the fourth-round, if not sooner.
I don’t see this fight happening, as both fighters have contenders in their division that require their attention. Although UFC fans would love to see this fight, it doesn’t happen for at least a year or two. Both would have to be champs to make this fight appealing. Adesanya still has to fight the likes of Robert Whittaker (the recognized middleweight champ), Jacare Souza, Yoel Romero, and maybe Gastleum again. Jon has an upcoming title fight with Thiago Santos. Maybe down the road, he fights Johnny Walker, Luke Rockhold and Jan Blachowicz.
Ladies and gentlemen, let’s keep following these guys. Maybe, just maybe, we get this dream fight in late 2020 or early 2021, if both stay on their current championship trajectory.