The UFC middleweight champion, New Zealander Israel Adesanya, once again stated that he intends to make another attempt to win the light heavyweight division title over time.
However, Israel Adesanya’s immediate path may lead to Whittaker and through the rest of the upcoming middleweight contenders, Adesanya told The MMA Hour host Ariel Helwani that he still finds himself intrigued by the challenge of the heavier weight divisions. He took a risk in March and attempted to move up to light heavyweight in a champion vs. champion match against Jan Blachowicz, but fell short and lost a competitive unanimous decision.
A second shot at two-division glory isn’t something that Adesanya is concerning himself with now, but it is a goal he plans to attempt again at some point — especially if his old rival, former UFC champion Jon Jones, somehow makes his way back down to 205 pounds.
“The story’s not over yet. There’s ways that this can happen, so stay tuned,” Israel Adesanya said.
“I’m not a quitter. Like I said, you’ve got to know when to hold them. To know, OK, you’re going to fight another day. I went up to 205, tried my best hand at it, it didn’t work out. So I’m definitely going to fight for that belt again — and depending on who’s holding that belt [it could against Jon Jones], because if you go up to heavyweight, f*ck that up, and then go back down to 205. So, yeah, there’s many ways the story can be written, like one of them Goosebumps (choose your own adventure) books.”
The loss to Blachowicz at UFC 259 still stands as Adesanya’s only loss of his MMA run. It snapped the undefeated 20-0 streak that began his MMA career and sent the middleweight king back to the drawing board after being out-wrestled and out-pointed by the larger man.
But though the setback was disappointing, it’s not one Israel Adesanya dwells on.
“It’s done. In the past,” Adesanya said. “Why would I hold onto that? I learned something off the mats, so I still pick the lessons, but I don’t hold onto the fact, like, ‘Oh man, I lost.’ Nah, you just went up there, tried to achieve a side mission. I didn’t quite get all the XP points but you got a lot from this, but now I’m back on the main mission, which is defending my crown at 185. And then another time down the road, you open another side mission.
“So like I said, the game’s not over, the story’s not finished yet.”