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Israel Adesanya won’t duck ‘challenge’ of Khamzat Chimaev — ‘It’s a big fight, that’s why I like it’

UFC 287: Pereira v Adesanya 2 Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC something-weight sensation Khamzat Chimaev has not competed since blowing up the scale ahead of UFC 279 last fall, but you’re not allowed to ask any questions about “Borz” or UFC President Dana White will lose his mind and bury you in the media.

That hasn’t stopped Chimaev from running his mouth on social media, taking aim at everyone from former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman to current 185-pound titleholder Israel Adesanya.

“For Israel, there’s nobody there – only me,” Chimaev said on his YouTube channel (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “So if you spoke about money, if you ask the fans, they want to see me and Israel. I’m a bad matchup for him. Everyone knows he’s going to lose the title (to me). That’s why they save that guy. They don’t want to lose him that fast. (I’d) finish that guy without punches, and that’s why they’re scared. Then (his) story’s dead, you know?”

Adesanya, 33, was able to reclaim his crown by stopping Alex Pereira at UFC 287 but “Poatan” subsequently bolted to light heavyweight, leaving “The Last Stylebender” with the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus du Plessis, who compete at UFC 290 this July in Las Vegas.

“Trust me, I’m not scared of nobody on this (expletive) planet. No one,” Adesanya told the IMPAULSIVE podcast (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “And also, guess what, I like a challenge. [Chimaev] presents something unique that — I’ve seen wrestlers before. It’s a big fight. That’s why I like it. Cheddar makes it better. But he’s got Kamaru [Usman] and after that is probably gonna go for the title [if he wins]. I’ve got bigger fish to fry. I’m gonna be there in July [for UFC 290] and [I’ll] see what’s up. Not with Rob, with Du Plessis.”

Whittaker has already been defeated twice by Adesanya but Du Plessis would present a fresh challenge for the 185-pound champion. That would first require a victory over “The Reaper,” who has remained undefeated at middleweight against anyone not named Adesanya.

Where the middleweight-bound Chimaev fits into the division title picture — if at all — remains to be seen.

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