Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight title contender Jared Cannonier, currently ranked No. 3 at 185 pounds, is expected to throw hands with ex-division kingpin and No. 1-ranked Robert Whittaker at the upcoming UFC 254 pay-per-view (PPV) event this October in Abu Dhabi.
But Cannonier will be ready long before that.
That’s because “Killa Gorilla” knows coronavirus has already taken down its fair share of main events and could potentially jeopardize the UFC 253 middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya (champion) and Paulo Costa (challenger) later this month on “Fight Island.”
“If anything happens with those guys, I’m more than willing and ready, that’s my plan,” Cannonier told MMA Fighting. “That’s the plan I have ahead of me. I’m getting ready for that date, Sept. 26. That’s the date I’m getting ready for. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll be more than ready for Oct. 24.”
Cannonier (13-4), who dropped all the way down from heavyweight, has captured three straight wins — and three straight knockouts — in the 185-pound division. That includes last September’s destruction over No. 4-ranked contender Jack Hermansson.
“Given the times with COVID-19, we’ve seen fights change, main events change, what, 60 percent [of the time] was it last year from the original booking,” Cannonier continued. “That’s where I stand right now. I’m more than ready. That’s not going to be a hard weight cut. It’s not going to be a last minute thing for me. I’m going to be ready for that date. That’s just it.”
Whittaker also plans to be ready which means the promotion has a tough decision to make if something should happen to one of its middleweight headliners at UFC 253, going down Sept. 26 from Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.