UFC books headliner between Darren Till and Marvin Vettori

The UFC is making moves with their middleweight division. Last night, we learned that the promotion had finalized a bout between Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker that would headline a Fight Night on April 17th. 

Today, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report that the UFC has finalized another incredible middleweight matchup. On April 10th, Darren Till (18-3-1) and Marvin Vettori (16-4-1) will headline another Fight Night.

This is going to be a massive seven day stretch for the middleweight division. Darren Till last fought back in July when he took on former UFC champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5).

The fight was extremely close, but Whittaker pulled out a decision. Till was originally supposed to headline a card against Jack Hermansson (21-6) in December, however he ended up injured and the promotion moved to Kevin Holland (21-5).

However, Holland ended up testing positive for COVID and he was pulled from that fight. That is when Marvin Vettori stepped into the picture. Vettori had another fight booked, but stepped up for the UFC and took that fight against Hermansson.

UFC’s Middleweight Division

Marvin Vettori looked sensational in December when he fought Hermansson. In his first UFC headliner, Vettori dropped and hurt Hermansson early on. He went on to dominate the fight for all five rounds.

The win was a massive statement and the fourth straight for Vettori. Vettori now finds himself fourth in the UFC’s middleweight rankings one spot behind Darren Till. However, Vettori has expressed frustrations with being ranked behind Till.

Nevertheless, now the two will get a chance to prove who is the better fighter. As mentioned, this is a huge seven day stretch for the middleweight division. Let us not forget that Kevin Holland and Derek Brunson (21-7) are also headlining a Fight Night on March 20th. 

This stretch from March through April has big implications for the middleweight division. Israel Adesanya (20-0) is moving up to challenge for the light heavyweight title, however, upon his return to middleweight, there should be a lot of clarity with all these matchups.

UFC books Robert Whittaker – Paulo Costa

The UFC has finalized a massive fight in their middleweight division this evening. First reported by Sherdog, the promotion has booked a headliner between former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5), and Paulo Costa (13-1).

This UFC main event will take place on April 17th. For the last month or two, this fight was being rumored. The current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0), is moving up to challenge for the light heavyweight championship at UFC 259.

Robert Whittaker was due for a rematch against Adesanya. Whittaker went 2-0 in 2020 and the two guys he beat were supposed to get title shots had they beaten Whittaker. However, Whittaker messed up those plans.

Bobby Knuckles has only lost once in the last six years in the middleweight division. That one loss has come to Israel Adesanya. If there’s anyone that deserves a rematch, it’s Robert Whittaker. However, Dana White recently said that Whittaker would have to fight again before getting that UFC title shot.

Big UFC Middleweight Battle

That is where Borrachinha enters the picture. Paulo Costa is coming off of a loss to Israel Adesanya back at UFC 253. Costa was the unbeaten challenger who many felt would push Adesanya to the limits.

However, Costa had a really tough time getting going against Adesanya. Adesanya brutalized him with leg kicks and shots from the outside. Eventually, the UFC champion caught Costa and put him down for good in the second round.

Costa got right back in the gym after the fight and he’s been making improvements. His team has been calling for a shot at Whittaker with Adesanya moving up for now and they got their wish.

However, originally Costa’s management wanted this fight to be for the interim UFC middleweight title. Dana White said recently that there would be no interim title despite the fact that Adesanya is moving up.

As of now, the UFC’s plan is for Adesanya to face the winner later in the year. Adesanya has made it clear that he plans to return to middleweight after capturing a second title. One of these two killers will be waiting for him upon his return.

State of the UFC’s middleweight division entering 2021

Last night, we learned that the UFC‘s middleweight champion is officially moving up in weight for his next fight. Israel Adesanya (20-0) is moving up to light heavyweight to fight Jan Blachowicz (27-8) for the light heavyweight title at UFC 259. 

Adesanya is trying to become just the fifth fighter in the promotion’s history to hold two belts at the same time. There have been a lot of questions surrounding Adesanya’s future at 185 with him moving up.

The UFC middleweight champion has been very vocal about his desire to potentially fight Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) in 2021. If the UFC makes that fight should Adesanya win the light heavyweight title, the middleweight strap would be on ice.

However, Adesanya has said that he will definitely return to the UFC’s middleweight division no matter what. He stated that 185 is his natural weight class and where he feels the best. This move is to just challenge himself and further his legacy.

In all honesty, the move is actually a good thing for the middleweight division. There are great fights inside the division, however, Adesanya has defeated most of the fighters that sit inside the top ten.

UFC’s middleweight division in 2021

The top contender in the middleweight division is former UFC champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5). Whittaker went on an incredible run to grab the middleweight title, but was easily defeated by Adesanya last October.

Since then, Whittaker took out two of the more compelling contenders in the division. He defeated Darren Till (18-3-1) and Jared Cannonier (13-5) by decision. Both of those fighters were guys Adesanya was interested in fighting.

However, Whittaker turned them away. With the way Adesanya defeated Whittaker last year, the champion isn’t motivated for the rematch at this time. The word is that the UFC is looking to book Whittaker against former title challenger, Paulo Costa (13-1).

Costa was just knocked out by Adesanya at UFC 253. Prior to that, many thought he was the most dangerous contender in the division. There is preliminary talk about that fight being for an interim title, but that’s far from confirmed.

The two fighters I have my eyes on entering 2021 is Marvin Vettori (16-4-1) and Kevin Holland (21-5). Vettori has busted through in 2021 on the heels of four straight wins to fifth in the middleweight rankings.

The Italian middleweight has already lost to Adesanya, but he lost by split decision. One big win for Vettori in 2021 could make him next in line. Kevin Holland was our breakout fighter of the year in 2020.

Holland has become a star after going 5-0 this year. The entertaining middleweight gets his first main event opportunity against Derek Brunson (21-7) in March. Should he win that, he could be just a win away from a title shot.

If Holland can get a couple of wins, he’s probably the most compelling UFC challenger at 185 for Adesanya. There’s a little beef there already, and the fight’s buildup would be a lot of fun. Should be an interesting year at middleweight.

What’s next for Mavin Vettori after UFC Vegas 16?

Last night at UFC Vegas 16, Marvin Vettori (16-4-1) took on Jack Hermansson (21-6) in the main event. Vettori was originally scheduled to fight next weekend, but after Kevin Holland fell out of the UFC Vegas 16 main event, Vettori stepped in.

Hermansson entered the cage as the fourth ranked middleweight in the UFC. For Vettori, he was competing in his first main event and it was the first time he was fighting someone when they were ranked inside the top five.

To be honest, I underestimated Marvin Vettori in this one. I figured he would have some moments on the feet, but over the course of five rounds, I figured Hermansson’s grappling and preparation for a five round main event would win out.

However, that is not what happened at UFC Vegas 16. Vettori looked incredibly sharp on the feet last night. He dropped Hermansson in round one and nearly finished the fight. In the second round, he continued to tune Hermansson up on the feet.

While he was doing this, he also did a fantastic job of defending takedowns. I got concerned for Vettori when the fight hit the third round. It seemed that Hermansson was taking over the fight and Vettori was fading.

However, it now appears that Vettori was just trying to take a round off. The fight was a war, but Vettori sealed the deal in the final two rounds of UFC Vegas 16 with piston like straight hands. In the end, Vettori walked away with the decision and the biggest win of his UFC career.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 16?

After the fight was over, Vettori stepped to the microphone for his post-fight interview. It wouldn’t be a Vettori interview if 90% wasn’t censored out. However, he still was able to say what he wanted next in the UFC.

Vettori took the opportunity to call out Paulo Costa (13-1) after UFC Vegas 16. To be honest, going into the fight, I figured Costa would be a good fight for whoever won. With Vettori’s performance and call out, I think it makes even more sense now.

We haven’t seen Costa since his failed attempt to capture the middleweight title at UFC 253. Israel Adesanya completely outclassed the Brazilian that night. Despite that performance, Costa is still one of the best in the world.

Stylistically, it makes for a fantastic matchup. Rankings wise, it will also make for a fantastic matchup. When the rankings come out on Tuesday, I would expect to see Vettori in the top five. A matchup with him and Costa would be pairing two exciting top five fighters against each other.

UFC: Jan Blachowicz calls for fight with Israel Adesanya

Corey Anderson

The UFC‘s light heavyweight champion has his eyes set on his next opponent. Last month, Jan Blachowicz became the light heavyweight champion of the world when he knocked out Dominick Reyes to cap off an incredible run at UFC 253.

The UFC‘s Polish Power has stormed through his last four opponents on his way to capturing the title. Later that evening, Israel Adesanya put on arguably the best performance of his career when he retained his middleweight crown against Paulo Costa.

Since then, there hasn’t been a ton of specific talk about what’s next for Adesanya or Blachowicz. Dana White said last week that it made sense for Adesanya to fight Robert Whittaker again for the UFC middleweight championship.

However, Adesanya and his camp don’t seem very interested in the matchup. They are looking for a new challenge and that challenge could come in the form of the UFC light heavyweight champion.

Adesanya’s coach did say that the champion’s next fight could come at light heavyweight. This is something that Blachowicz seems interested in. The light heavyweight champ took to Twitter to callout Adesanya for a fight in March.

Will the UFC make it happen?

This would be such an interesting matchup for the UFC to make. On one hand, it would give them a chance to make Adesanya an even bigger star than he already is. Adesanya as a two-division world champion would blow up.

However, it wouldn’t be an easy fight for Adesanya. On paper, Adesanya should pick apart the light heavyweight champion, Blachowicz. Blachowicz would definitely be the slower fighter, however, his power is not to be ignored.

When he hits guys, they just seem to completely change. Many, including myself, thought he would be outgunned against Dominick Reyes. I thought the fluidity of Reyes would give him issues, but Blachowicz’s power just took over at UFC 253.

If Adesanya were to move up and win the UFC light heavyweight title, it could make the potential Jon Jones fight even bigger. Imagine Jones challenging Adesanya for the light heavyweight championship. Or maybe the two-division champion, Adesanya, would want to fight Jones at heavyweight.

However, I would strongly suggest that nobody overlook Blachowicz if this fight was to happen. Adesanya would be the clear favorite, but Blachowicz has power that can change any fight on a dime.

UFC Matchmaker: Jared Cannonier – Paulo Costa

This past weekend at UFC 254, Jared Cannonier (13-5) had his chance to cement his status as the number one contender in the middleweight division. He took on former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker in the UFC 254 co-main event.

Cannonier had a couple of bright spots in the fight. He hurt Whittaker early with leg kicks, and wobbled Whittaker in the final minute of the fight. However, outside of those, it was a clear win for the former UFC champion.

Whittaker almost finished Cannonier early on in the third round with a headkick. The loss was the first loss for Cannonier since he dropped down to the middleweight division. Cannonier had been called out by UFC champion, Israel Adesanya, before the loss.

Now that Cannonier has suffered the loss, it’s back to the drawing board for the Killa Gorilla. In looking around at the rest of the middleweight division, I think there is a clear next step for the UFC. I think that the promotion should book Jared Cannonier – Paulo Costa (13-1).

Will the UFC make it happen?

This is the fight that just makes too much sense. Costa is coming off of a title loss to Adesanya at UFC 253. Prior to that loss, he was looked at as arguably the most terrifying contender in the UFC‘s middleweight division.

Cannonier just fought the former champion when he carried in a similar reputation. Both men lost in their big opportunities. The quickest way to have one of them re-establish their credibility in the division is to have one fight the other.

This would be a fantastic matchup for the UFC to make. The promotion is likely going to book the Adesanya – Whittaker rematch, and they could put this fight as the co-main event. The winner would re-establish themselves as the top contender in the UFC‘s middleweight division.

UFC: Three Reasons why Paulo Costa’s night didn’t go the way he expected

Heading into UFC 253, there have been few fights — let alone sporting events — with as much hype and build-up behind them as there was for Costa vs. Adesanya. The millions of people that were chopping at the bit over the past months were finally gifted the long-awaited fight this past Saturday at UFC’s Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. With the bad blood between the two, the social media presence and coverage around it, and of course, the skillsets both fighters hold, there was no doubt that this would be one of the most profitable and entertaining fights in UFC history.

This last weekend held a title fight that caused some fans to bury their heads in their hands, while others simply gave a Jordan shrug and scoffed, saying “onto the next.” Costa fans watching went silent, Izzy fans roared, the classic smackdown after a smack-talking of the ages proved once more that there are very few — if any middleweight fighters — that can go toe-to-toe with The Last Stylebender. As always, with a win comes another flamboyant celebration from Adesanya, and this time he may have set off a ticking time bomb. Adesanya’s gesture of pelvic thrusting Costa twice after knocking him out didn’t sit well with Paulo, certainly guaranteeing a future matchup at least once more between the two. However, that is down the road, and as for now, Izzy made a definite statement on Saturday.

For one fighter, Paulo Costa, the fight was a massive wake-up call. For the other, Israel Adesanya, it was another notch on an already Hall of Fame resume. However, as one should always do when faced with defeat, I wanted to look at the takeaways for Costa from the loss. I figured this would be a great time to talk about a few things I observed from watching the fight Saturday that ultimately hurt Costa, but are adjustable to where he can improve and get better in the future.

1: Paulo Costa’s corner did little to help

When watching the fight, it was easy to see within the first three or so minutes of the first round that Costa wasn’t fighting this fight like any of his ones prior. While ‘El Borrachinha’ is criticized by many for his technique — or lack thereof, for him to be standing as flatfooted and open as he was, was a problem from the get-go. Not only was his stance just easy-pickings for Adesanya’s brutal and various leg kicks to his lead left leg, but it was also limiting his own offensive abilities as well. I’ll touch more on that later in another portion, but prior to getting into how Costa’s corner left him for dead, first here’s a comparison of how the night went for both fighters from a statistical perspective (info via Forbes):

SIGNIF. STRIKES LANDED SIG. STRK LND % S.S LND- HEAD S.S LND- BODY S.S LND- LEG S.S LND- CLINCH
COSTA 12 46% 2 7 3 0
ADESANYA 55 65% 24 5 26 2

The stats tell the story if the eye test wasn’t enough. For one of the most feared and brutal strikers across all divisions of the UFC to get out-shot by 43 significant strikes — the second-largest gap from all fights Saturday night — is inexcusable. What makes Costa such an intimidating fighter in the ring is that he is always applying “unrelenting pressure,” as Joe Rogan put it best. With this fight against Adesanya, there was little-to-no pressure from him whatsoever, and he was solely fighting defensively. Obviously, when fighting against Israel Adesanya, there are very few mistakes to capitalize on, so for Costa to be fighting in a defensive or counter-attacking style is interesting. However, as strong of an argument could be made about how difficult it is to press Izzy and get up close enough to do tons of damage — which is what Costa’s calling is.

Now, after the first round, it was apparent that the leg kicks were going to start becoming problematic for Costa, but when listening to his corner, there was no sense of urgency or change of approach being suggested. His corner encouraged him to work his combos and told him that when he’s got Izzy up against the cage that he should push off him and separate. My main problem with that advice is that advising Costa, who already had a 3in height disadvantage to go with an 8in reach disadvantage, to make this a fight from distance in the center of the octagon doesn’t make sense. For his corner to suggest the idea of “throwing his combos” implies that Costa would need to be on the offensive and pushing in more. Once more, however, as the second round got underway, his shots were not landing. I myself don’t speak Portuguese, so I’m not entirely positive as to what was being shouted out by his team throughout the fight, but for an in-between round talk to be so contradictory of oneself was interesting.

What I mean by that is that encouraging Costa to work the combos and let them come to him, but also discouraging him to get in the clinch or up close enough to do that patented damage he’s so well known for, contradicts completely. There was seemingly no anger or aggression that Costa was fighting with, and one can contribute some of his corner’s lack of plausible advice as one of the reasons. Costa was not going to win this fight by going five rounds, and there were little who expected him to outduel Izzy from the center of the octagon. Simply put, the strategy put in place by Costa and his team was completely shattered within a few minutes of the fight.

2: Costa’s stance and nonchalant demeanor cost him greatly

While many love the heavy punches and seamless combinations executed, there’s an undeniable art to the wear-and-tear style of fighting. For Adesanya to have come out and executed the various leg kicks that he did, most to the outside of the knee and oblique, and various to the calves and thighs, shows that he truly does possess the precision he daunts. After a few moments, Costa’s knee began to swell, and by Round 2, it was already bleeding, along with the inside of his thigh. Praising Adesanya is easy after that showing, and of course, it is easy to rag on Costa’s rather pitiful performance, but the one glaring thing Costa neglected to do anything about were those kicks. He very infrequently even attempted to check them and didn’t once switch up his stance or try to switch up the octagon position.

The 26 Significant Strikes Landed to the leg by Adesanya were the most strikes landed between the two across the entire body. Yet, when the fight’s candle slowly was nearing the burnout, it were the early leg kicks that were Costa’s main downfall. To some, leg kicks are ineffective and, when not properly executed or located, can do minimal damage. However, with as accurate as Izzy was, and as little care as Costa seemed to show toward it, it played a crucial part in his loss.

For Paulo, he’s always been a confident fighter and one that enjoys showboating in the ring, but to do it against Adesanya while not actively doing anything himself, was not what I wanted to see out of the potential future middleweight champion. I’m all for having fun in the ring and giving your opponent nothing to feel good about or smile about, but to not push offensively in between doesn’t make sense. Costa’s demeanor is never going to change, and nor should it. His confidence and ego play into his ambition and work ethic, and there are very few who work as hard as he does. Yet, to see him repeatedly slap his knee as if it wasn’t a mere slap from Adesanya while neglecting to check it or counter it was worrisome.

When Costa fought Yoel Romero at UFC 241 last year, there are glaring differences in the way he approached both bouts. With Romero, Paulo was constantly on the offensive, keeping his body straight and aligned with Romero, his shoulders square. He had his classic guard up — with both hands up below his chin, left hand lower and dangling for the majority of the fight. That allowed him to throw those lead left jabs and hooks and hit him with the brutal right uppercuts or hooks when the body is turned. Add to that, Costa constantly pushed Romero and tried to get in the clinch. When up against the fence, he’d throw knees and vicious body shots, even if it meant he’d take some hits as well. Ultimately that combination led to a few knockdowns for Costa, some hard punches, and win via unanimous decision.

The Adesanya fight was a completely different story. Very rarely was Paulo ever seemingly fighting off his front foot, and he was often caught in an open stance where Izzy was able to land repeated kicks and a few headshots throughout the fight. What Makes Israel Adesanya such an incredible fighter is his ability to switch stances on the fly, thus adjusting and adapt to whatever is going on in the moment and read fighters’ moves, seemingly telegraphing them before they happen. For Costa, there was no stance switching or applying pressure when his opponent was caught on his back foot. There were no combinations thrown or kicks mixed with jabs that could’ve dazed Izzy. Instead, it was as if Adesanya knew everything that Costa was going to throw. The constant feints and ducks, while being light on his feet and repositioning himself accordingly, ended up being too much for Paulo to keep up with.

3: Costa needs to greatly improve his adjustability and agility

Paulo Costa could eat the Jan Blachowicz diet of Polish sausages and beets & potatoes, as well as nothing but straight butter and not lose his figure. There is no doubt that his strength and striking ability are amongst the best of the best in the world, but if he wants to be a titleholder, he is going to need to expand his range. Costa teased the media by saying he could take Adesanya to the ground in a matter of seconds, but there was not one takedown attempt attempted by Costa. There were few impactful kicks that he landed, aside from a few decent shots to the body and one that clipped Adesanya’s head. To put it simply, Costa’s game, when he was unable to push in and throw his punches, was severely limited. If he truly wants a shot at the belt, he needs to work on his endurance and agility along with his craft — specifically his kicking.

I am not implying that Costa is out of shape or is unable to handle the grueling endurance battles that can take place in the UFC, but it was quickly apparent that he wasn’t remotely as quick or technically smart as Adesanya. Costa has never fought a five-round bout before in the UFC, either, and the longest fight he’s fought was that UFC 241 FOTY candidate between he and Romero that went to the judges after three. The more important thing I am touching on with his agility and endurance is that his horizontal movement and ability to adjust when having to fight off his back foot are lacking. When he is able to be the aggressor and throw his punches, thus dictating the fight, there is no one that can stop him. If that fails to materialize in the early stages of the fight, when going up against poised and technical fighters like Adesanya, Costa has to have a fallback option.

Similar to how in baseball, what separates an elite pitcher from a good pitcher is their out-pitch and their complementary stuff. For guys like Clayton Kershaw, it is his changeup and curveball, for Josh Hader, it is his slider and fastball. In the UFC, world-class fighters who are considered the best of the best have well-rounded games, and outs that they can look to in case they encounter a roadblock in their own game plan. Adesanya is able to move quickly and combine his precision and lethal strikes with light footwork and rapid pace, allowing him to adjust on the fly and pickup his opponent’s moves before they happen. For Khabib Nurmagomedov, it’s his ability to throw quick punches and then drop levels and take you to the ground within a blink of an eye, before executing near flawless grappling techniques. Whereas for Costa, if he’s not able to use that gorilla-like strength and pressure, there is no true other option for him yet. His biggest strength is his ability to fight in the clinch and up-close. When Costa is pressed against the opposing fighter and able to throw vicious body shots mixed with headshots, opposition can only stay standing for so long. He didn’t land a single shot when in the clinch versus Izzy and was quick to break it and revert back to the middle.

That inability to adapt and either A) push Adesanya against the fence and initiate the clinch more, or B) match him with exchanges and shots at a distance, was his downfall. On Saturday night, everyone saw that Costa could be labeled a “one-trick pony” and that there are flaws in his game for sure. Taking away the lack of grappling, for his stand-up game to truly reach elite levels and to be considered the best of the best, he is going to need to diversify and expand.

Paulo Costa is certainly not down and out in the UFC. There should be little-to-no-doubt about him returning with an emphatic statement in his next fight and doing whatever it takes to claw his way back to that Adesanya matchup. He already told Dana to book the rematch, proving that this rivalry is nowhere near close to over.

UFC: Jon Jones opens as sizable favorite over Israel Adesanya

UFC, Jon Jones

This past weekend at UFC 253, Israel Adesanya (20-0) put on the performance of his career when he successfully defended his title against Paulo Costa (13-1). One of the more active voices on Twitter during the fight was pound for pound great, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

Jones and Adesanya have gone back and forth through the media for sometime now. The two UFC champions do not like each other and have long talked about a potential fight between the two. I personally think it’s the fight for the UFC to make.

While the fight is the fight that UFC fans want to see, Adesanya has cautioned that he wanted to clean out the middleweight division first. Of course, Jones has pointed this out saying that Adesanya didn’t have the courage to step into the cage with him.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion is currently preparing for his move to heavyweight. However, he would of course drop back down to light heavyweight to take on the UFC‘s middleweight champion, Adesanya. Jones said that he would literally tear one of Adesanya’s arms off.

Betting odds for the potential UFC super fight

Yesterday, Bovada released betting odds on the potential matchup between the two fighters. The former UFC light heavyweight champion opened as a massive favorite over Israel Adesanya. Jones was a -375 favorite. The odds give Jones about a 79% chance of defeating Adesanya.

It would be a fascinating fight to watch for UFC fans. Adesanya is probably the best pure striker in the UFC, however, he’s never fought someone with the range of Jon Jones. Jones also probably has the best striking defense out of anyone Adesanya has faced in the UFC.

Despite these things, I don’t think Jones would entertain standing with Adesanya. Jones said in an interview with Ariel Helwani that he would fully plan on taking Adesanya to the ground and beating him up.

It’s hard to predict the fight without it actually being booked, but I tend to agree with the odds the way they are currently. I do think Jones would be able to get Adesanya down, and if he did that, it would be a nightmare for Adesanya to get up. However, if it stays standing, Jones could have his hands full especially with leg kicks.

Who is the greatest middleweight in UFC history?

This past weekend at UFC 253, Israel Adesanya (20-0) put on a show. Facing his toughest test to date in Paulo Costa (13-1), Adesanya put on the performance of his career stopping Costa in the second round. He proved he’s the best middleweight in the world.

Adesanya has become a superstar for the UFC. Whether it be the way he talks, his dancing, or his incredible slick striking skills, Adesanya wows fight fans. However, after Saturday evening, I was seeing a little bit of being a victim of the moment.

There were some members of the MMA media and the UFC Twitter mob that were already declaring Adesanya the greatest middleweight in UFC history. Stylebender is clearly the best in the world now, but I think that people need to pump the breaks just a little.

Yes, Adesanya is perfect at 20-0, but he just defended his UFC title for the second time. Remember, he just became champion in October. He’s not even one year into his title reign, and some are already declaring him the GOAT.

There is no questioning the talent and the skill of Israel Adesanya. He very well might be the greatest middleweight to have ever stepped foot in the UFC. However, declaring him the GOAT at this point is wrong. To me, he’s not even in the conversation with the actual GOAT of the middleweight division yet.

One of the UFC’s Best of All Time

There is only one GOAT at middleweight and his name is Anderson Silva (34-10, 1 NC). Before Adesanya fans immediately try to argue, I will warn you that there is no argument when it comes to their resumes inside the UFC.

Yes, I understand that Silva has really fallen on rough times, but you have to remember, he’s far past his prime. When he was in his prime, Silva dominated the UFC like only Jon Jones has dominated the UFC.

Silva outclassed every opponent on his way to winning his first 16 UFC fights. A winning streak that still hasn’t been matched in the promotions history. Silva won the middleweight crown back at UFC 64 and successfully defended the title 11 times before falling in 2013.

Silva’s unbeaten reign inside the UFC spanned seven years. If he would have retired after he defeated Stephan Bonnar, he would still be considered to be the greatest to ever do it. Of course, things derailed for Silva starting at UFC 162.

Like all great champions, Silva was never the same as he exited his prime. However, it’s still impressive that Silva can compete at his age. In fact, he looked pretty good in February of 2019 when he fought to a decision with Adesanya.

Yes, Silva lost the fight, but at 43 years old, Silva was able to keep the fight close, and he won a round. Adesanya is the best in the world right now, but he still has a ways to go in my eyes before he can be declared the greatest middleweight in UFC history. That’s still belongs to the Spider.

UFC: Jon Jones – Israel Adesanya needs to happen in 2021

UFC, Jon Jones

This past Saturday at UFC 253, Israel Adesanya (20-0) put on arguably the best performance of his career against Paulo Costa (13-1). Costa was looked at as Adesanya’s most dangerous challenger, and the champion made it look easy.

It was Adesanya’s second successful defense of his UFC middleweight crown. Of course, one of the more active voices on Twitter during UFC 253 was former UFC light heavyweight champion and current pound for pound #1, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC).

It is no secret that Jones and Adesanya do not like each other. Both men have gone back in forth over the past year, and a potential fight between the two men has been something that’s been discussed for a while.

With the way that things currently stand, the UFC needs to attempt to book this fight in 2021. Adesanya will likely defend his title one more time in early 2021 against the winner of Robert Whittaker – Jared Cannonier, but after that, the Jones fight is what needs to be made.

A rare chance for the UFC

In the UFC, opportunities like this don’t come along very often. It’s very rare that you have two dominant champions who might be the two best pound for pound fighters in the world and have the opportunity to fight each other.

Not too long ago, Anderson Silva was considered to be the GOAT in the UFC. He held the position that Jon Jones is currently in. For years, fans called for the UFC to book Silva against Georges St. Pierre and/or Jon Jones during Silva’s title reign.

Both fights would have given us as fans the chance to see who really was the best. However, the UFC was never able to make it happen before Silva lost his title. Still to this day, I wish we could have seen one of those fights happen.

However, this fight would be much different for the UFC. While it would let us really see who’s the best, it’s a fight that would have a ton of heat behind it. All of the factors that go into making a massive fight are there with Adesanya and Jones.

Two essentially undefeated and dominant champions who can’t stand the other. There would be no bigger fight that the UFC could put together in 2021. Of course, Jones has said he’s moving to heavyweight and Adesanya’s still got business to attend to, but the promotion should do what they can to make it happen next year.