Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya have engaged in a very public back-and-forth spat on social media, with the two champions going at it for well over a year now.
The only problem is, Adesanya is king at Middleweight, while "Bones" is still firmly running things at Light Heavyweight. And while it wouldn't be too hard for Adesanya to put on some mass to fight at 205 pounds, "The Last Stylebender" says a potential blockbuster bout between them won't happen until 2021.
As Jones see it, all that shows him is Adesanya's insecurities and fears.
“He’s scared — that’s all it is,” Jones said. “When he says you’ve got to respect the game or the game will humble you, he’s talking about not fighting me now or me beating his ass cause he’s scared. When you let a fighter like me know that you’re not prepared to fight me today and you wish you had another year to prepare and all that sh*t, it lets me know your mental state. That’s all I need to know.”
According to Adesanya, he still has a lot of work to do at 185 pounds before moving up. And he's right — his first-ever title defense is coming up against Yoel Romero at UFC 248 on March 7, 2020.
And while it's refreshing to see a newly-crowned champion determined to put in work in his own weight class before bolting, Jones seems to think there are other motives behind Adesanya's timeline.
And it has to do with thinking Jones will somehow slow down a year from now.
“If he feels he’s not cut out for the challenge now, if he honestly thinks I’m going to be somehow a weaker version of myself next year, he’s sadly mistaken,” Jones said. “I’m just now figuring out training camps and figuring out different ways of healing and recovery and all these things. My teammates are getting stronger. I’m only a purple belt in jiu-jitsu.
“If he thinks I’m getting slower and weaker, he’s sadly mistaken,” he continued. “He’s scared today. He’s made that very clear to the public. Nothing’s going to change next year.”
A fight between the two men will undoubtedly do big numbers, especially since Jones -- who faces Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 this Saturday (Feb. 8, 2020) in Houston, Texas -- is just about done cleaning out his own division. That means if Adesanya doesn't expedite a fight against Jones, he could lose out if "Bones" eventually makes his move up to Heavyweight.