Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is expected to make his next 185-pound title defense against No. 2-ranked division power puncher Jared Cannonier at one of the promotion’s upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) events later this year.
“Contract signed,” Cannonier wrote on his Instagram stories. “Big news on the way.”
Adesanya (22-1) is 11-0 in the middleweight division, having recently outpointed former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 in Houston. The only blemish on “The Last Stylebender’s” record is a light heavyweight decision loss to Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in early 2021.
“Fresh face, fresh meat, fresh look,” Adesanya said in the wake of UFC 271. “I’m starting to feel like Anderson Silva when he fought Thales Leites, Demian Maia. You know, you’re just too good for these guys. So yeah, I want some fresh meat and Jared Cannonier looks like it.”
Cannonier (15-5) is 5-1 since dropping down to middleweight and is coming off back-to-back victories over Kelvin Gastelum and Derek Brunson. More importantly, the 38 year-old “Killa Gorilla” has double-digit knockouts and could be Adesanya’s most dangerous opponent to date.
“He’s a beast in the division,” Adesanya previously told MMA Fighting. “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.”
Expect a date and location to be announced in the coming days.