Kiwi UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s ambition to fight for a second title has taken a big step forward this morning with the man he wants to challenge ready to lay his belt on the line.
Adesanya’s coach, Eugene Bareman, exclusively revealed to 1 NEWS earlier this month the next time his MMA fighter enters the ring they want it to be for the light heavyweight championship.
“We want to fight next year and our preferred fight next year is at [light heavyweight],” Bareman told 1 NEWS at the time.
“If we have to push it to next year, then our preferred option, the fight that we are going to try and negotiate to the best of our ability is going to be at 205 [pounds] for the title.”
The other option Adesanya had been looking at was fresh middleweight challenger Jared Cannonier, but the American’s loss to Robert Whittaker last week has effectively taken that fight off the table.
Luckily for Adesanya and Bareman, though, their light-heavyweight option has received a boost this morning with champion of the division – Jan Blachowicz – stating on social media he’s happy to take on “The Last Stylebender”.
"I have heard that Israel Adesanya wants to face me next. No problem,” Blachowicz said on Twitter.
“If you are ready to fight in March, let's do this. Prepare for some fireworks guys," the Polish fighter said.
Blachowicz currently sits at 27-8 in his career and is currently on a four-fight win streak.
The latest win in that streak was last month at UFC 253 when he captured the title vacated by former light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones – another rival of Adesanya’s – with a TKO win over Dominick Reyes.
Coincidentally, it was the co-main event to Adesanya’s middleweight title defence in which he disposed of Paulo Costa easily to move to an undefeated record of 20-0.
For the fight to materialise, negotiations will need to take place with the UFC – something Bareman admitted he’s not sure about.
“That’s our job, though – to try and push that narrative as far as we can.”
Should the fight fall into place and Adesanya prevail, he would be the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time, following Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes and Henry Cejudo.