After taking out Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 back in February 12th, fight fans wonder who “The Last Stylebender” will battle next.
MMA Fans Are Talking About Israel Adesanya Next Fight
Adesanya picked up a unanimous decision victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 271, ending their rivalry.
The win improved the UFC Middleweight Champion’s MMA record to 22-1 with four successful title defenses. Adesanya’s performance over Whittaker also ranked him at number two in the UFC men’s pound for pound rankings.
As “The Last Stylebender” continues his run as champion, the attention turns to the rest of the UFC Middleweight division for who’s Adesanya’s next fight. Among the top 15, two fighters have stuck out as possible opponents for Izzy.
The UFC has not yet announced Adesanya’s next contest, but we can look at who are likely possibilities.
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Potential Opponents for Israel Adesanya
The “Killa Gorilla” Jared Cannonier is ranked 2nd in the middleweight division, with a two-fight win streak.
He defeated fourth-ranked middleweight Derek Brunson at UFC 271 by KO in the 2nd round. Cannonier’s win also ended Brunson’s five-fight win streak and his chances of fighting for a UFC championship before he retires.
Cannonier won five out of his last six fights since fighting at middleweight, after beginning his UFC career as a heavyweight and light heavyweight. The “Killa Gorilla” seems to be next in line, and Israel Adesanya believes in thinking so too.
Adesanya called him out on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani for a Pay Per View event in June or July. However, UFC President Dana White hasn’t acknowledged Jared Cannonier as the next title contender yet.
The company could also be looking at another contender in the division to fight Adesanya for the middleweight title.
Sean Strickland could be Adesanya’s next opponent if Cannonier isn’t ready to compete.
He’s ranked fifth in the middleweight division and has a better winning record than Cannionier with six straight wins.
“I mean, Israel’s just a crafty motherfucker,” said Strickland. He continued, “Like, don’t get me wrong, we all know he does steroids, and that probably helps his performance. We all seen him fight with the titty that hung down. I mean, have you ever seen a man fight in the UFC with /gyno from weed? I mean, look at Nate Diaz; if that was the case, Nate Diaz would have tits down to his knees. Get out of here with this. (h/t Harvey Leonard)
“The Last Stylebender” wants to stay active, and Strickland is always ready to fight. Strickland’s comments about Adesanya could also sway the UFC to make them fight for the middleweight title at an event later this year.
When Will Israel Adesanya Fight Next?
“The Last Stylebender” wants to fight three times this year and has requested to fight in June or July. However, it’s unclear if the UFC already has a title fight planned around the time that Adesanya wants to fight.
Is Israel Is Israel Adesanya Playing it Safe?
Adesanya is dealing with issues of being too dominant that his idol Anderson Silva had when he held the UFC Middleweight Champion.
While Adesanya is winning decisively, he has one TKO victory in his last four fights defending the title.
After his win against Robert Whittaker at UFC 271, both UFC fans and his peers believed he may have played it safe. Silva also faced criticism similar to Adesanya when he held the UFC Middleweight title.
Marvin Vettori criticized Adesanya’s performance on Twitter and said that he was “fighting scared” at UFC 271. Michael Chandler also showed his displeasure for the fight on social media after the event.
Adesanya hopes to continue his dominance in the UFC Middleweight division. While he may not be winning by knockout lately, he still has defeated top-ranked contenders.
The champion also teased, returning to light heavyweight to become a two-division champion. For now, Adesanya will look forward to his next title fight.