Is Israel Adesanya done with the UFC’s middleweight division?

This past weekend, Dana White announced that UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, would be moving up for his next fight. Instead of defending his crown next, he’ll be moving up to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title. 

This move comes on the heels of Adesanya’s dominant performance at UFC 253 where he defeated Paulo Costa. White’s preference was for Adesanya to defend his title in a rematch with Robert Whittaker, however, Whittaker needs more time.

With Adesanya wanting to stay active, the logical move was for him to move up. He will try to become just the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold two belts at the same time. However, Jan Blachowicz is far from a pushover.

For the purpose of this article, let’s say that Adesanya is able to move up and capture the UFC light heavyweight championship. Will he ever return to the middleweight division? Or will he be like Conor McGregor who never returned to featherweight after he won the title.

What will the UFC star do?

Adesanya said that he has very clear plans for 2021. The middleweight champion said to Submission Radio that he plans on capturing the UFC light heavyweight title then he plans on fighting Jon Jones in a stadium.

The Jon Jones fight is the one that all UFC fans want to see. It’s easily the biggest fight that the promotion could make right now. The two men do not like each other and have been talking about fighting for some time now.

With Adesanya moving up to light heavyweight, we appear a step closer to that matchup. Jon Jones is currently focused on his move to heavyweight, however, I feel that he would relish the chance to drop back down to fight Adesanya.

A fun scenario to imagine is if Adesanya captures the UFC‘s light heavyweight title while Jones captures the heavyweight title. Imagine Jones and Adesanya fighting when they control three titles. The fight would be one of the biggest fights of all time.

All this is to say that if Adesanya wins the light heavyweight title, it might be a long time before we see him return to 185 pounds. In fact, we might have already seen the last time Israel Adesanya competes in the middleweight division.

However, Adesanya did tell MMA Fighting that he wants to come back to middleweight eventually. Adesanya said, “No, middleweight’s mine. Middleweight is my perfect weight class. So when I do 205, I’ll just hold up that division once in a while that’s all. I’ll defend my belt when it’s time.”

UFC booking Dominick Reyes – Jiri Prochazka

Dominick Reyes

The UFC just ended their second stint on Fight Island over the weekend. However, Dana White said that the promotion would waste no time in getting back to work once they landed in the US. He wasn’t kidding about that one.

Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that the UFC is currently working to finalize a light heavyweight contest between Dominick Reyes (12-2) and Jiri Prochazka (27-3-1). The fight would headline a UFC fight night that will take place on February 27th.

This is a massive fight for a light heavyweight division that just crowned a new king. After reigning over the division for most of the past decade, Jon Jones decided to vacate the title and move to heavyweight. That opened the door for UFC 253.

At UFC 253, Reyes took on Jan Blachowicz for the vacant light heavyweight title. The underdog, Blachowicz, would go on to stop Reyes in the second round to become the first male Polish champion in the history of the UFC.

UFC Light Heavyweight Main Event

For Reyes, he will get a golden chance to bounce back. Prior to the loss at UFC 253, Reyes had lost a decision to Jon Jones. However, there were a lot of people who thought Reyes won that fight. Some considered him the uncrowned champion leading into UFC 253.

Reyes had been unbeaten and defeated fighters like Jared Cannonier, Chris Weidman, Vokan Oezdemir, and Ovince St. Preux. The Devastator will look to get right back into the title picture with a victory on February 27th.

There was a ton of hype surrounding the UFC debut of Jiri Prochazka. Prochazka made his debut on the UFC’s first stint on Fight Island. The charismatic fighter from the Czech Republic showed off his entertaining style in his fight with Volkan Oezdemir.

His unorthodox style caused Oezdemir to never get comfortable. In the second round, Prochazka turned the lights out with a sensational knockout. Prochazka hasn’t lost since 2015, and a victory over Reyes would likely earn him a shot at the light heavyweight title.

UFC: Israel Adesanya’s next fight could come at light heavyweight

The UFC‘s middleweight king could be jumping up in weight for his next contest. Israel Adesanya (20-0) has been talking to his coaches about a potential move up to light heavyweight this year. The middleweight champion is coming off of a dominant win at UFC 253.

Of course, fans would immediately jump to the conclusion that he would be fighting Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Jones and Adesanya have been going back and forth for a while over social media. Dana White recently said that it’s the fight to make.

However, Adesanya has always been a fighter that has followed the lead and instructions of his coaches. Adesanya’s head coach, Eugene Bareman, was recently interviewed on Submission Radio discussing what is next for the UFC‘s middleweight champion.

The first choice for his next fight is top middleweight contender Jared Cannonier. “If Cannonier didn’t want to turn around and fight, then Israel would definitely fight at 205,” Bareman said. “We’ve already had a little chat about that. He would be perfectly willing to do that. So much is just dependent on those results in the middleweight division”

What’s next in the UFC for Adesanya?

Adesanya has been very vocal about his timeline to fight Jon Jones. He wants to fight the UFC‘s pound for pound king, but he wants to do it on his own time. The UFC‘s middleweight champion and his team seem to be more interested in defending the UFC middleweight title next.

As Bareman, said, if Adesanya can’t defend the title soon, he would move up. However, I’m not convinced that moving up would translate to a Jon Jones fight. Perhaps Adesanya would move up just to test the waters the way Anderson Silva did at light heavyweight.

As Dana White said, the fight to make is Israel Adesanya – Jon Jones. However, I just don’t know if that’s what we are going to get next. Many people have pointed to the fact that the UFC should try to make this the new headliner for UFC 256. 

However, given how Adesanya and his team treats his career, my guess is that they’d want more time to prepare for the challenge that is Jon Jones. While Adesanya mocks Jones constantly, you have to believe he understands the threat of a Jon Jones fight. Adesanya might fight at light heavyweight next, but it still might not be Jon Jones.

UFC: Glover Teixiera – Thiago Santos booked for the third time

Anthony Smith, UFC

The UFC is going to try to book a light heavyweight title eliminator for the third time. COVID-19 has had their way with this contest, but the promotion is determined to make it happen. This fight will determine who will face the new UFC light heavyweight champion.

For the third time, the UFC has booked Glover Teixiera (31-7) against Thiago Santos (21-7). Originally the two men were scheduled to square off at UFC Vegas 10 in the main event of the evening. However, Teixiera came down with COVID-19 which scrapped the fight.

The UFC then pivoted to book the fight for Fight Island. The fight was to take place on the October 3rd card. This time, Santos came down with COVID-19 and the promotion was once again forced to cancel the fight.

Now, per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, the UFC is once again booking this fight for the main event on a Fight Night on November 7th. The fight will take place at the APEX in Las Vegas.

UFC Title Eliminator

The UFC will crown a new light heavyweight champion this weekend at UFC 253. Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will go head to head to determine who will be the new light heavyweight king.

The fight between Glover and Santos will crown a clear number one contender. For years, the light heavyweight division was ruled by Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Because of their dominance, there wasn’t a lot of parody in the division.

Now, we will actually see some fluidity in the division. This weekend is going to be a big night for the UFC in crowning a new champion. This fantastic fight in November should generate an exciting number one contender for the first title defense.

Both Santos and Teixiera have fought for the UFC light heavyweight title before. Both fell short, although Santos came a lot closer to defeating Jones than Teixiera did. This should be a fantastic fight on November 7th.

UFC: Thiago Santos – Glover Teixiera fight pushed back (Reports)

Anthony Smith, UFC

The UFC has lost it’s main event for it’s fight night that was scheduled next week on September 12th. Glover Teixiera (31-7) has test positive for COVID-19. First reported by Combate and confirmed by MMA Junkie.

With the positive test, the highly anticipated light heavyweight showdown with Thiago Santos (21-7) is being pushed back to October 3rd. Given that this fight was originally scheduled to be the main event next week, I wouldn’t be shocked if it bumps Holm – Aldana considering the interest in this fight.

UFC loses another fight to COVID

The UFC has done a fantastic job of putting on live events since May. However, the promotion has had to cancel a number of fights due to COVID-19. This one really hurts because the UFC didn’t have a clear fight that can take over the main event slot next week.

Likely the co-main event of Michelle Waterson – Angela Hill will slide up to the main event. While that’s a good fight, I’m not sure it’s a UFC main event. Fortunately, we will see get to see the UFC title eliminator between Santos and Teixiera next month.

Later in October on Fight Island, Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will be fighting for the UFC light heavyweight title. The winner of this Santos – Teixiera matchup will be the first in line for the title. With the fight being pushed back, there will be less down time for the winner of the fight.

Does Bellator have a better light heavyweight division than the UFC?

UFC, Dana White

Last week, Bellator President Scott Coker made some pretty bold statements about his promotion’s light heavyweight division. He said that they had the best light heavyweight division in the world after Jon Jones vacated his UFC light heavyweight title to move to heavyweight.

After Vadim Nemkov knocked out Ryan Bader at Bellator 244, Coker doubled down on his claim that they were better than the UFC. “When Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight, clearly we have the best division.”

Bellator’s claim

The UFC also had an event this weekend. After the event, the media asked UFC President Dana White about Coker’s claims that Bellator had the better light heavyweight division. With a big smile, White replied to the media, “Isn’t he cute?

Bellator has some very solid guys in their light heavyweight division. Nemkov, Phil Davis, Corey Anderson, Lyoto Machida, and others. You can throw Bader in too although I’m sure he’s going to be sticking to heavyweight after that fight.

Those are all very solid fighters, but the UFC president made a point that rings very true about their light heavyweight division. He stated, “Everyone they have in their light heavyweight division, we let go of. That’s like the dumbest f–king thing I’ve ever heard.”

Anderson, Machida, Bader, and Davis were all former members of the UFC that the promotion let walk. I understand what Scott Coker is trying to do with making his statement. However, I’m not sure the statement holds a lot of weight.

The UFC is better at the top

The UFC doesn’t have the same stacked light heavyweight division they once had, but it’s still the best game in town. Corey Anderson was ranked fourth in the UFC prior to him being signed by Bellator, but he was just starched earlier this year by Jan Blachowicz.

I believe that Dominick Reyes is better than anyone in Bellator. I also believe that the best version of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson is better than anyone inside of Bellator’s light heavyweight division.

If the four best UFC light heavyweights (Reyes, Blachowicz, Johnson, Thiago Santos) fought the four best Bellator light heavyweights (Nemkov, Anderson, Davis, Bader), would you favor any of the Bellator guys?

The answer to that question is probably no. Bellator has a good light heavyweight division, but it is not better than the UFC‘s. This round goes to Dana White and the guys in the UFC.

Shogun Rua – Paul Craig 2 targeted for UFC 255

Shogun Rua

Looks like UFC 255 is going to get a key rematch in the light heavyweight division. Per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (27-11-1) will be taking on Paul Craig (13-4-1) in November.

At the time of their rematch, it would be almost a year to the date from when they previously met at UFC Fight Night 164. In their first fight, the two men fought to a split draw.

Key UFC light heavyweight rematch

Both of these men rank just inside the top 15 of the UFC‘s light heavyweight division. Craig comes in at 15th while Shogun comes in at 14th. A win for either man would likely get them a shot against someone in or close to the top ten.

Shogun is coming off of a split decision win over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC Fight Island 3. The fight was the final chapter in the two Brazilians’ trilogy. Shogun won all three fights, but the final one was razor close.

The fight was back and forth with Shogun getting rocked a few times. Despite this, he was able to do enough to earn the decision victory on two of the judges scorecards. Shogun is definitely nearing the end of the line in his historic career.

Earlier that evening, Craig fought and defeated Gadzhimurad Antigulov. Craig was able to secure the win via his signature triangle choke. The win was Craig’s seventh career win by triangle choke.

Both men are in very interesting spots in their UFC careers. For Shogun, it appears he’s only a couple of fights away from retirement. I don’t see another title run in him despite the fact that he’s 5-1-1 over the last five years.

For Craig, he needs that signature name that’ll get him back on track. He was once 9-0, but has gone 4-4-1 in his last nine fights. A win over Shogun would be two in a row and would get him closer to the top ten in the division.

UFC: Anthony “Rumble” Johnson returning to light heavyweight

Anthony Rumble Johnson

The state of the UFC‘s light heavyweight division is extremely fluid at the moment. Today, Jon Jones announced that he will be vacating the light heavyweight title.

Also, it was announced that the UFC is planning on having Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz fight at UFC 253 which will likely be for the title although not confirmed.

If that wasn’t enough news in the light heavyweight division, arguably the most terrifying knockout artist in the history of the division will be making his return.

Rumble back in the UFC

It has long been known that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson would be making his UFC return at some point. We just really didn’t know when that return would happen. We also didn’t know which weight class Rumble would be fighting in.

As Brett Okamoto reported, Rumble will be going back down to light heavyweight. The same division that saw Rumble make two runs to a title shot only to be stopped by Daniel Cormier twice.

The second loss to Cormier came at UFC 210 back in 2017. That night, Rumble announced that he would be stepping away from fighting. He was emotional in announcing his retirement.

Outside of his two losses to Cormier, Johnson went 6-0 in the light heavyweight division with five first round knockouts. Those knockouts came over guys like Glover Teixeira, Alexander Gustafsson, and current two division Bellator champion, Ryan Bader.

It will be very interesting to see how quickly the UFC decides to push Rumble. Will he get a crack at the title right away or will they give him a top contender like a Jiri Prochazka in his first fight back?

It will be interesting to see this whole thing unfold. Rumble will have to be in the USADA pool for six months before he can return to the octagon. With that, expect to see Rumble back in the first part of 2021.

 

BREAKING: UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, vacates title

UFC, Jon Jones

Earlier today, it was announced that the UFC was planning to have Dominick Reyes face Jan Blachowicz on September 26th. Many were wondering what that meant for the light heavyweight title.

Last week, Dana White said that the UFC would be having a light heavyweight title fight before the year was over. However, he didn’t say what that meant for Jon Jones. He said they were waiting to hear back. Well, the man himself just gave us our answer.

Bones going for the UFC’s heavyweight title?

It’s been clear for some time that Jon Jones was wanting to move up to the heavyweight division. There is really not a lot left for him to accomplish at 205 pounds. The only thing there would be the rematch with Dominick Reyes after many thought he lost to Reyes earlier this year.

However, the UFC‘s light heavyweight king seems to be ready to move on. I don’t believe he’s done because as of two days ago, Jones was very active on Twitter discussing his desire to compete for the heavyweight title. He made it clear that he wanted to fight Stipe Miocic after UFC 252.

Where do we go from here?

That is a very interesting question. White said in the post-fight press conference that Francis Ngannou was definitely next for the title. So does Francis still get the shot with Jones more than likely moving up?

That is a question that only the UFC knows the answer to. Obviously, there is no one more deserving of a heavyweight title shot than Ngannou. However, can the UFC turn down the opportunity to have the GOAT fight the heavyweight GOAT? Time will tell on this one.

UFC: Dominick Reyes – Jan Blachowicz targeted for September 26th

Dominick Reyes

The UFC is finalizing a massive matchup in the light heavyweight division. Per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Dominick Reyes (12-1) will be taking on Jan Blachowicz (26-8) on September 26th.

Dana White said last week that the promotion was waiting to hear back from Jon Jones on what was next for him. White confirmed that there would be a UFC light heavyweight title fight before the year was over. The details of the Reyes/Blachowicz fight is still being worked out.

UFC interim champion or title eliminator?

This is such a big fight because it pairs the top two contenders in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Earlier this year at UFC 247, Dominick Reyes fought Jon Jones for the light heavyweight title.

Reyes put on the performance of a lifetime and many believed that he was going to walk out the new champion. In fact, the majority of the media who scored the fight had the fight for Reyes. In the end, the three judges were unanimous in giving the fight to Jones.

Despite the outpouring of interest in the rematch, Jones seemed to want to move on. He set his eyes on the Polish Express. Blachowicz shocked everyone when he knocked out top contender Corey Anderson just one week after Jones fought Reyes.

With the knockout win, Blachowicz made his case to be the top contender. Jones nodded in approval as Blachowicz shouted at him from the cage after the victory. The UFC had two top contenders on their hands with interesting storylines around them both.

Of course, Jones then expressed his interest in moving up to heavyweight. He suggested that Blachowicz fight Reyes for the title when he was going through his contract dispute with the UFC.

While we certainly don’t know the circumstances just yet, we know that is exactly what’s going to happen. The winner of this fight will either be an interim champion or the winner will be earning the right to fight the UFC‘s light heavyweight champion in the next few months.