Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images for UFC
Israel Adesanya believes a fight with Jon Jones is a part of his story, one that’s inevitable. But Jones also needs to be an active fighter for that to happen, and the middleweight champ is still waiting.
“He should move up in weight first [before we fight],” Adesanya said at the press conference for his UFC 276 showdown with Jared Cannonier. “Go fight Francis [Ngannou], or even, like, I don’t know, stop being on TMZ. Get his life together.”
The crowd joined Adesanya in laughter at the obvious dig. Jones, unfortunately, has been more visible for what he’s done outside the cage than inside it. Since “Bones” last defended his light heavyweight title in February 2020 and then relinquished the belt to move up to heavyweight, there have been plenty of teases about a return and plenty of planning. A booked fight, however, has yet to materialize.
Things appear to be closer than ever to Jones returning. The light heavyweight champ said a fight with ex-heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic was targeted for UFC 276, but it was pushed back to September, presumably at UFC 279, because Miocic wanted to prepare as thoroughly as possible.
Adesanya has waited so long, he remains skeptical.
“This is facts, or am I saying anything that’s not true?” he continued. “Just get his s*** together first, like [Daniel Cormier] said, and yeah, start fighting again, because there’s no fight if someone’s not fighting.
“I’m the one fighting, I’m staying active, I moved up in weight – not just talking about it. I’m going to do it again. Cementing my own legacy. I’m just worried about me right now. That’s the thing.”
Adesanya attempts the fifth defense of his middleweight belt and the third since his ill-fated attempt to capture the light heavyweight title against then-champ Jan Blachowicz. Adesanya’s coach and UFC President Dana White have both opened the door to a return to 205 pounds, where Jones dominated for so many years.
Dominance could expedite Adesanya’s move – he is a -300 favorite to defeat Cannonier on July 2 in Las Vegas.