Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya could very well be the fifth “champ-champ” of the UFC. As confirmed by company president Dana White, “The Last Stylebender” will now challenge the newly-crowned 205-pound king Jan Blachowicz.
“I was adamant on him fighting Whittaker for the title. It’s the thing that makes the most sense,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in a UFC Vegas 12 post-fight interview. “And then Whittaker comes out after the fight and says he doesn’t want to fight him, which is wacky. But OK, then he’ll move up to 205 and have him fight Jan.
“That’s what he wants. And when the number one contender doesn’t want to fight you, then yeah. We’ll do what he wants.”
Another reason why White agreed to booking the said matchup was Adesanya’s overall approach to the game, which he expressed admiration for.
“I don’t think he needs to vacate his belt to do it,” White said. “Israel Adesanya is a guy who wants to stay busy, wants to fight, wants to challenge himself against the best.
“Let’s not forget, he fought Yoel Romero when he didn’t have to. We didn’t want him to fight Yoel Romero, it didn’t make sense. It made sense to him because everybody thinks he’s one of the toughest dudes in the world, I want to fight him. And you know how much I love that stuff.”
Blachowicz won the vacant light heavyweight title by stopping Dominick Reyes via second round TKO at UFC 253 in September. On that same card, Adesanya stopped Paulo Costa in identical second-round TKO fashion in the main event.