If all goes as planned, 2021 will be the biggest year of Israel Adesanya’s mixed martial arts career.
Shortly after the conclusion of UFC Fight Night 181, Dana White revealed that the reigning middleweight champion’s next step would be to move up a weight class to challenge 205-pound king Jan Blachowicz. White did not give a timeframe for the champion vs. champion superfight.
Adesanya, who is in Las Vegas to support a teammate on Wednesday’s Contender Series show, confirmed on the ESPN+ post-fight show that he had a productive meeting with the UFC president, adding that he will become “champ squared” in 2021.
“Me and Dana had a meeting yesterday in the war room. We went to his office, he showed me around. We hashed it out. Within two minutes we got the fight figured out, who I’m gonna fight next,” Adesanya said. “It’s said and done.
“I’ve been playing the long game for a long time. I’ve already set everything I wanted to do in this company and I’ve exceeded that already… I’ve given you guys a date. I’ve given you the stadium. 2021 is gonna be champ squared. It’s out there.”
While Adesanya did not mention Blachowicz directly, he hinted that his plans for next year also include a meeting with former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who is expected to move up to heavyweight soon. Jones and Adesanya have taken shots at one another on social media and in the press for months now.
“I said I’m going to fight the supposed GOAT, 2021, Raiders Stadium,” Adesanya said. “I’m hoping to God after these elections all this corona s--t vanishes and then we can have crowds again, because that fight needs to be in front of a crowd.
“It’s going to be the biggest fight in UFC history, I believe, bar any fight that’s been put up.” “If not Raiders, I’m thinking Texas, because I have the gate for the largest attendance in the world at 57,127, so I’m thinking Raiders Stadium, if not [AT&T] Stadium. There’s more to come, but I’m just saying, baby steps. Everything I’ve planned, strategy in the game of war.”
Adesanya is coming off a second-round technical knockout of Paulo Costa in the UFC 253 headliner on Sept. 26. The 31-year-old City Kickboxing representative is 20-0 as a professional with other notable wins against the likes of Yoel Romero, Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva and Derek Brunson.
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