Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya believes his much-ballyhooed grudge match against former 205-pound titleholder Jon Jones is alive and well, despite the fact “The Last Stylebender” was defeated in his recent trip to light heavyweight.
But the former kickboxing phenom is also convinced Jones will never make it to the heavyweight division, probably because of his ongoing salary dispute, which could be the reason “Bones” eventually makes his 205-pound return.
“I see it, I see it 100 percent,” Adesanya told The MMA Hour about a fight against Jones. “But that’s the thing. You’ve got to know when to hold them, you’ve got to know when to fold them, and the song is not over yet. So stay tuned. We’ll fight one day. I don’t know where or how it’s going to happen. I just have an idea of what’s going to happen. But yeah, see if he moves up in weight first. See if he moves up in weight first and deals with these guys there. I think he can, but does he think he can?”
Jones vacated his light heavyweight title in summer 2020 with the intention of heading north, where potential super fights against Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic await. Unfortunately, the promotion has been unwilling to pick up the tab.
As for Adesanya, 32, who returned to middleweight with a victory over Marvin Vettori, he’s expected to defend his 185-pound strap in a rematch against former champion Robert Whittaker in early 2022, just as soon as “The Reaper” recovers from injury.