Jared Cannonier has his sights set on a middleweight title shot following his emphatic KO victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 271 on Saturday, telling MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that he’s earned the right to fight Israel Adesanya.
“I know I earned it. But if they choose [Sean] Strickland over me, it would say something to me. It could be my ego saying thinking, ‘They scared of you, they don’t want that heat yet’. I guess Izzy gets to pick his fights, and he said my name in the post-fight interview and the press conference,” Cannonier, who called out Dana White in his post-fight interview, said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour (h/t BJPenn.com). “I’d say I’m confident of it happening, but I’m staying prepared for anything.”
The UFC may very well decide to grant Sean Strickland a title shot over Cannonier but, after Saturday’s performance, that outcome seems unlikely. ‘The Killa Gorilla’ won his fight via KO while ‘Tarzan’ treated his UFC Vegas 47 win over Jack Hermansson as a ‘low-level sparring match’ (see Tweet).
“I probably shouldn’t say this and no disrespect to Jack he’s a warrior... but I feel like I didn’t even try this fight.. Like I was treating it like a low level sparring match.. very disappointing... let the pressure get to me... won’t happen again”.
Cannonier is currently #3 in the UFC middleweight rankings while Strickland, who is on a six-fight winning streak, is #6.
As for the champ, Adesanya is ‘looking forward to fresh meat’ following his decision win over Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 and credited Cannonier for making a statement on the main card.
“I just saw bits and pieces [of Cannonier vs. Brunson]. I think he even got rocked. I saw he got taken down. Then, he elbowed Brunson. I didn’t really take stock. I’ll go back and watch the fights later on and see what it is. He made a statement. I even told him after the weigh-in, not the ceremonial one, the official weigh-ins. I said, ‘Look, please take this guy out so I can get some fresh meat.’ And he said, ‘Bro, I’m trying to work.’ I said, ‘Me too.’ So I’m a man of my word.”