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Cannonier expects competitive fight with Adesanya: ‘He’s not gonna be style-bending in there’

Cannonier believes he poses the greatest threat to Adesanya. 

Jared Cannonier is gearing up for a ‘very competitive’ fight against Israel Adesanya.

Cannonier earned his first championship opportunity with a second-round technical knockout of Derek Brunson at UFC 271 this past February. Later on that evening, Adesanya defeated Robert Whittaker via unanimous decision in a highly anticipated rematch. Following his win over Whittaker, ‘The Last Stylebender’ shifted his focus to the ‘fresh meat’ of the middleweight division and expressed interest in the ‘Killa Gorilla’ for a future fight.

Adesanya vs. Cannonier has yet to be announced as official, but UFC president Dana White previously suggested that it is indeed next. As he awaits confirmation from the promotion, the No. 2 ranked contender has begun training for the champion at The MMA Lab in Arizona. Preparation has gone well so far, and the way he sees it, Cannonier is poised to give Adesanya a run for his money.

“It’s really hard to say right now,” Cannonier told Helen Yee in a recent interview. “All I know without giving up too much of my game plan is that it’s going to be very competitive. More competitive than any other fights that he’s had in the Octagon. I’m sure it’s going to be the same thing for me.

“But I’m going to anticipate less, just answering any of the questions that he’s gonna present to me, answering them with ferocity and I don’t know,” continued Cannonier. “Any of those pretty words we can add to it, but I feel like he’s gonna have to change his approach, that’s for sure. He’s not gonna be style-bending in there because I plan on neutralizing his game and imposing mine like I do with any and everybody.”

Cannonier credited Adesanya with being the best striker he has faced throughout his professional career, which includes stints in three divisions. Though he knows that Adesanya has bested almost all of his opponents with his superior striking, Cannonier is unfazed by the prospect of exchanging with him and welcomes the challenge.

“We are definitely gonna be more prepared for anything he’s gonna present to us and comparing him to any of my other opponent, he’s definitely the best striker that I’ve come against. But he’s not gonna be the guy who’s gonna try to impose a fight with wrestling. He’s not gonna be able to lean on his wrestling more so because most guys when they fight me, they feel the pressure on the feet, so they resort to their wrestling. I don’t think he’s gonna be inclined to do that. It’s gonna be interesting to fight a fighter who’s not gonna be looking to take me down to gain an advantage in that regard or what they used to think was their advantage, but it’s not.”

There is no word on what event could host Adesanya vs. Cannonier, but the champion stated that he would be ready to return to competition by June.