Newly-crowned Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, has a target on his back after disposing of former division kingpin, Robert Whittaker, at the UFC 243 pay-per-view (PPV) event last month in Melbourne.
So who will “The Last Sylebender” be most cautious about?
A quick look at the division rankings — as well as the 185-pound rubble — would suggest hulking bruisers like Yoel Romero or Paulo Costa, but Adesanya insists it’s former heavyweight Jared Cannonier, winner of three straight, all by knockout.
“100 percent I’m looking at him,” Adesanya told MMA Fighting. “He’s a beast in the division. He’s the dark horse in the division. He’s the guy everyone is sleeping on but you can’t sleep on him because you’ll get put to sleep. I think he’s the guy, the second most dangerous guy in the division behind myself. I look forward to fighting him after his next fight.”
Adesanya was expected to fight Costa at some point in early 2020; however, “The Eraser” was rubbed from the title chase after undergoing bicep surgery. A reluctant UFC President, Dana White, eventually gave the green light to a Romero title fight.
Perhaps that would leave Whittaker to face former welterweight, Darren Till.
Cannonier (13-4) is likely to have one more fight before earning his crack at the crown. Like Whittaker, Till remains a viable option, as does the hot-and-cold Kelvin Gastelum. I guess all we can do at this point is wait for pen to hit paper.