Israel Adesanya will attempt to usurp Jon Jones’ former throne in his next outing.
Dana White confirmed at the UFC Vegas 12 post fight press conference that Adesanya will challenge light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title.
White did not provide a date or location for the contest.
This is a departure from White’s comments after former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker defeated Jared Cannonier last weekend where he stated a rematch between Whittaker and Adesanya made sense.
“When the fight was over on Fight Island, the last fight, I was like I’m going to have to sit down with this kid (Adesanya) and convince him on why he needs to fight Whittaker, and Whittaker comes out and says he doesn’t want to fight him. Craziest shit I’ve ever seen,” White said at the press conference.
“There’s no arguing with Israel now. I thought Whittaker deserved the shot and Whittaker doesn’t want it, so yeah we’ll let him do it.”
Adesanya, 31, last competed at UFC 253 in September where he defended the middleweight title against Paulo Costa, defeating him via TKO in round two. In the same night, Blachowicz, 37, claimed the vacant light heavyweight title by defeated Dominick Reyes also via TKO in round two.
After unifying the interim and undisputed middleweight title in 2019, Adesanya (20-0) has now defended it two times. The Nigerian-born Kiwi has had an unblemished and meteoric rise through the UFC, while Blachowicz (27-8) has chartered a rockier path. At one point in time the Polish fighter was 2-4 with the promotion, after which he went on to pick up eight wins in his next nine fights.
Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) publicly vacated the light heavyweight title in August, citing his interest in moving up to the heavyweight division. Jones and Adesanya have had a number of heated exchanges online with both expressing interest in a fight between them in the future.