The mixed martial arts (MMA) community has been so busy shipping Darren Till and Robert Whittaker that Jared Cannonier has quietly faded into the background, despite his place at No. 4 in the official middleweight rankings.
Probably because “The Reaper” is still in the top spot after coughing up his division crown and will likely have his pick of the litter. In addition, UFC President Dana White is warming up to the idea of booking Israel Adesanya against Yoel Romero, so the options are limited.
Just don’t expect Cannonier to settle for sloppy seconds.
“I used to say I’ll take any fight but at this point in my career, I have to be smart,” Cannonier told Helen Yee. “I can’t just take any fight, so I have to listen to my managers and my coaches in that regard and take the best fight.”
Cannonier was on standby when Till fought Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244 earlier this month in New York City, just in case either fighter was unable to make weight. “The Gorilla” went on to win by way of split decision after three rounds of back-and-forth action.
“I’ll fight Darren – that’s a good fight,” he said. “He just beat Kelvin. I think a win over anybody in the top five, an impressive win over anybody in the top five – an impressive, dominant win over anybody in the top five – constitutes a title shot.”
Cannonier (13-4) has won three straight fights, all by way of technical knockout, including last September’s stoppage over Jack Hermansson in Copenhagen. The former heavyweight has 11 finishes in 13 wins, five of which came under the UFC banner.
Who’s down for some “Gorilla” on “Gorilla” crime?