Over the last year or so, the possibility of a fight between Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya has picked up steam. But after Adesanya won the undisputed Middleweight title by knocking out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 (see it), it really started to gain more traction. But according to Adesanya’s head trainer, Eugene Bareman, he and his team would rather award that opportunity to a “stand up guy” like UFC Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, as opposed to giving it to someone of Jones’ ilk.
“No,” Bareman said when asked about his interest in seeing Adesanya vs. Jones on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “I believe me and Israel are in a certain place where we don’t have to give a person of Jon’s nature the opportunity that Israel can bestow upon him.
“That’s why I suggested, and this isn’t set in stone or anything, but if we were going to do a super fight we would much rather do it against Stipe. A good dude, a nice guy. A stand up guy. Let’s do it against him, let’s not give someone like Jon Jones an opportunity. That’s just how my team operates.”
In a separate interview with Submission Radio one week prior, Bareman explained why he feels Jones and Team Jackson-Wink aren’t deserving of a title fight against Adesanya.
“There’s ethical and moral issues that don’t sit well with my team, and they would be very reluctant to give a man like him the sort of opportunity that Israel can bestow on him,” Bareman said. “We have a track record of not fighting certain opponents even though they make sense.
“And I’m not talking about in UFC, I’m talking about locally, because they’re just not good people,” he continued. “And Israel can want to fight him and have all the desire in the world to fight him that he wants, but it’s not his decision. It’s not solely his decision. So, if my team decides that ... it would just be hard for me to look at my team and ask them, should we give Jon Jones this opportunity considering the type of person he is?”
“You guys asked me what’s the biggest fight? And I said Stipe Miocic. But because my inclination is to avoid someone like Jon Jones. Not because Israel can’t beat Jon Jones, it’s just because my team’s just different to that team. Like, that team … we’re just different. Like, we don’t vibe with that type of person, we don’t vibe with that sort of behavior,” he said, referring to Jones’ multiple out-of-the cage incidents that have plagued him throughout his career.
“Like, my team’s just in a different place ethically and morally. You know, like, it just wouldn’t happen. We just don’t want to mess with that. Israel might want to and he might feel a little bit differently, but for me and my team, my group of coaches, my fighters, we just want nothing to do with anybody like that. That’s just where we’re at.”
Of course, Adesanya moving up form 185 to 207-265 seems like something that will need to take plenty of time ... just ask this guy. But if Jared Cannonier can drop down from Heavyweight to Middleweight to become a legit title contender, then “The Last Stylebender” moving up isn’t out of the question.
That said, bad blood equals good business, and Jones and Adesanya have plenty of it, which could lead to a massive event (and payday) for both combatants. Not to say one against Miocic won’t do well, but let’s be honest, any fight connected to “Bones” draws eyes to screens.
Nevertheless, before Adesanya even thinks about packing on the pounds to move up to either weight class, he has to establish a good championship reign at 185 pounds.