UFC: 'Jon Jones is my biggest fan' - Israel Adesanya says no to 'superfight'

Israel Adesanya has ruled out a fight with big-talking rival Jon Jones in 2020.

The UFC middleweight champion is currently without an opponent for a rumoured February or March title defence.

Adesanya and Jones have gone back and forth on social media for most of 2019, fueling speculation a 'superfight' was in the works.

But the 'Last Stylebender' is committed to defending his newly won crown before entertaining a jump to the light-heavyweight division, where Jones reigns supreme. 

Speaking on the Ariel Helwani MMA Show, Adesanya said if Jones wanted to fight him in the next 12 months, he needed to meet him at middleweight.

"Jon Jones?" Adesanya said. "Nope.

"I have this new belt and I want to clean out my division like he has done, before I move up in weight.

"If he wants to fight me right now, then come and see me at 185[lb], bro. 

"I'll let him jump the queue, because he is the champ at 205 - but if he wants to wait, then 2021, I will see him then. 

"Jon wants to fight me now, because I'm getting better every time. He wants to fight me yesterday.

"Jon Jones is my biggest fan, he just won't admit it, but he is my biggest fan and he needs me, because I'm taking that shine away from him."

Adesanya's UFC 243 victory over Robert Whittaker has seen his star rise to Conor McGregor level, but the Auckland-based City Kickboxing fighter is keeping grounded.

The 30-year-old wants to keep his fame Octagon-based, rather than seeking outside headlines,  focused instead on fighting the very best middleweight contenders within the UFC. 

Adesanya was set to make his first defence against Brazilian Paulo Costa, but a bicep injury has seen that fight scrapped.  

That leaves slim pickings, as other middleweights jostle for position. 

Adesanya's preference is Yoel Romero, but the former Olympic wrestler has only won one of his last four fights.

But many regard the 42-year-old as the biggest potential threat to Adesanya's perfect record.

Adesanya wants to prove them wrong. 

"Everyone thinks Romero is the guy to beat me, because he has big muscles," Adesanya said. 

"It surprises me, you know - all these so-called experts have casual-fan brainpower. 

"The same experts that said I don't possess one-punch knockout power are now saying Romero is the one to take me out.

"They said the same shit about Brad Tavares, Kelvin Gastelum and Derek Brunson - that they would take me out and give me problems. 

"I want to shut everyone up, because that's who everyone is picking. I'm here to call him out.

"It's hard to make a fight right now for me, but I want Romero."

One potential challenger for the Nigerian-Kiwi is Liverpool's Darren Till. The Briton made a successful middleweight debut on Sunday, topping Kelvin Gastelum via decision.

The result was a great bounce back for the talented striker, who suffered devastating stoppage losses to Tyrone Woodley and Jorge Masvidal in his previous two Octagon visits. 

Till hugely respects Adesanya and believes the two elite strikers are set to do battle in the near future.

"It's got to happen," Till told Helwani. "I said at the press conference about Israel that people have got to stop doubting him.

"Israel is unbeaten. There ain't no blueprint out there on how to beat him yet, so the doubters need to stop talking all this shit.

"Me and Israel need to fight - I want to be the guy to provide that blueprint and it's not about the belt either. It's about destiny and I know he will tell you the same thing. 

"We are meant to fight each other at some point and we will see."

Adesanya agrees, but believes Till has work to do.

"I think he learned a lot from my fight with Kelvin," he said.

"I figured Kelvin out in the third round in terms of what he was doing to get close to me - you're welcome, Darren. Because of what I did, he had the answers on Sunday. 

"Darren played a smart game and I like that. I was impressed by Darren, but he needs to pick a number and get in line." 

Adesanya's manager, Audie Attar, told Helwani a decision on an opponent would be made by the end of the month. 



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