Everyone is talking about potential superfights for UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, and he has yet to register his first title defense.
Adesanya will put his 185-pound title on the line against Yoel Romero in the UFC 248 pay-per-view (PPV) main event from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, there has been talk of Adesanya possibly doing a superfight with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Adesanya and Jones have gone back and forth for the past several months, hyping what “Stylebender” thinks will be a 2021 clash inside Raiders Stadium.
However, according to Adesanya’s coach, Eugene Bareman, who recently spoke to Submission Radio, it’s not up to Adesanya if the fight happens. It’s up to Bareman, and there’s still some convincing to be done.
“I mean, that’s the thing, it’s not up to Israel. I make the decision on the fight. So, come 2021, Israel has to convince me that we should fight Jon Jones. And if I don’t feel that we have to, then it’s not gonna happen. It’s not even Israel’s call.”
Bareman went on to explain that, for all Jones’ faults as a person, he respects him as a fighter, and isn’t taking such a challenge lightly. The City Kickboxing frontman also noted that he thinks Jones and Adesanya are currently on different paths in their careers for the time being.
“There’s a lot of things that he would have to do, and a lot of those things that he’d have to do to fight Jon start now, you know, that’ve already started. There’s a lot of stuff that we have to do. For all of Jon Jones’ faults as a person, he’s still a very, very good fighter. And to prepare for someone of that nature, who’s that good, you know, the prep for that sort of fight starts now. Yeah, but I’ve already stated that I don’t think that fight’s necessary.
“Jon’s on his own journey. I think he might be going to heavyweight and doing his thing. Like, he seems to be trying to just… whether it’s fake or real, he’s trying to be a better person. He’s, yeah… I don’t know. He prays and stuff now. And on social media, someone said to me the other day he does charity work on social media now. So, (laughs) he’s trying to change his persona and stuff.
“Good on him. I think we’re on a different path, I just think we’re on a different journey. Israel’s got a lot of convincing to do before that fight happens.”
Jones is currently dominating the light heavyweight division, so much so that many think it’s only a matter of time before “Bones” jumps up to heavyweight. Adesanya has said that he has fought at heavyweight before, and is willing to chase Jones into the heavyweight division. According to Bareman, however, he’s more interested in a heavyweight matchup with current champion Stipe Miocic, rather than Jones.
“Yeah, fighting at heavyweight is not a problem for Israel. he’s not gonna weigh heavyweight. That wouldn’t be what our advantage is. He would never weigh at what a heavyweight would (weigh). We’d fight at what our walk around weight, which is like barely past what the middleweight limit is. But Israel stated, and I think it’s a very good plan, he’s gonna do his thing in the middleweight division.
“There’s some really tough challenges. He should clear those out. There’s at least three or four more good challenges. But three or four more fights for Israel is like maybe within this year. So, after that, what’s the next challenge? For him, and we’ve done it in all the sports that we’ve participated in, it’s to move up in weight. And trust me, if he has these three or four more middleweight fights, we will push to fight Stipe, a hundred percent.
“Yeah, that’s the fight. I mean, I was half joking to get the attention off all this Jon Jones stuff, but that’s a serious – I’m making a claim there, serious stake. If Israel can get the business done at middleweight, and if he’s successful he will definitely look to move and challenge Stipe. That’s a serious thing. But for us, we’re not paying immediate attention to it. There’s just so much that we have to put our concentration into now that it’s on the back burner. It’s in the back of our minds. So, yeah, let’s see if that hurries along Jon Jones (laughs).”
What do you think about Adesanya’s coach saying he’ll push for “Stylebender” to fight Miocic at heavyweight with a few more middleweight wins?