Israel Adesanya cemented his position at the top of the middleweight division at UFC 236, coming inches away from finishing Kelvin Gastelum during their five round scrap (watch the highlights here). It almost went very differently. Gastelum caught Adesanya in the first and threatened a comeback in the fourth, but “The Last Stylebender” stayed calm and continued to lay on the pressure until Kelvin broke in the dying seconds of the fight.
We all know what’s next for new interim champ Adesanya: a unification match against full champ Robert Whittaker, targetted for Australia in September. But that didn’t stop reporters from asking Israel about Jon Jones, who had been throwing some pretty fiery tweets his way over fight week.
If you think you killed 44 yr old Anderson, you didn’t. I’m not really sure what fight you’ve been watching. You got past the legendary GOAT, now come fuck with the King of the jungle. I’ll make you call me daddy by the third.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 12, 2019
Adesanya shut all that right down.
“This is about me,” he said at the post-fight press conference. “This moment right now is all about what me and what me Kelvin did tonight. None of that. I’ll address that at another time. But right now, it’s about me.”
That got Jones’ attention, and he didn’t hesitate to play the villain.
Just waking up to the morning news, this is about you now bitch— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 14, 2019
”Just waking up to the morning news,” the light heavyweight champ wrote. “This is about you now bitch.”
Here’s some more of Jones’ commentary over UFC 236 fight night:
Well said, my man had a toe to toe kick boxing match with a short stubby wrestler. There’s only one Jon Jones ladies and gentlemen https://t.co/uLl2yo7DZU— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 14, 2019
That wasn’t my intention, nothing but respect for Kelvin. Dude Almost beat a kickboxer without throwing a single kick https://t.co/tmKeuSzTZw— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 14, 2019
Yeah but DC is currently the heavyweight champion and widely consider one of the best to ever play the game. Big difference https://t.co/tz2sXTGZ4U— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 14, 2019
And I grew up on the wrestling team, not in a kickboxing gym. My fight was wrestler versus wrestler. Let’s see this loudmouth out wrestle KG https://t.co/tz2sXTGZ4U— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 14, 2019
You guys can you believe the hype if you want to. I’ve seen all I had to see https://t.co/BDyQUA2DmX— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 14, 2019
Jones has a financial incentive in setting up the biggest fights he can. And with his general reluctance to move up and face Daniel Cormier - the obvious choice, really - he’s clearly decided to pick on more 185 pound fighters. Since returning from nearly back to back USADA suspensions, “Bones” has only faced one actual light heavyweight in Alexander Gustafsson. After that he fought Anthony Smith and will fight Thiago Santos at UFC 239 in June. They’re both recent arrivals from middleweight.
It’s not really Jones’ fault there aren’t many legit challenges at 205 right now. Or at least not in the traditional sense. He was so dominating for so long that many light heavyweights decided middleweight would be an easier place to make their mark. Now guys are returning to a thinned out 205 and finding success ... at least until they have to face Jones.
Will Adesanya follow suit? Why would he, when he was never an over-sized middleweight to begin with, and when he’s just starting to build a legacy in his current weight class? But it looks like Jon Jones is going to try and goad him into a feud, even if from the outside it looks like one of those Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre situations that may never come together.