UFC star Jon Jones has labelled Israel Adesanya "scared", claiming he is unimpressed with the skillset of the Kiwi mixed martial artist.
Jones defends his light-heavyweight title against undefeated American Dominic Reyes in Houston on Sunday - his 10th career title defence.
But the 32-year-old has recently talked about new challenges, including a potential move to heavyweight, given his near decade-long dominance in the lighter division.
One of those challenges is also a highly anticipated superfight with middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who Jones has legitimate beef with. The two have sparred on social media over the last 18 months, since Adesanya shot to prominence inside the UFC cage.
Jones even called the Nigerian-born striker a "pussy" at a recent press conference promoting the Reyes fight.
Speaking before this weekend's title defence, Jones was disdainful when Newshub asked if a fight with Adesanya motivated him.
"He's scared," Jones proclaimed. "His actions have proved that to me.
"Why else would he engage with me, then say he wants to fight me in a year's time?
"He said the time to fight him is now, but then he says 2021 - he's scared of me, because I'm bigger, better and smarter than I ever have been, and he knows that."
Adesanya has taken the UFC by storm, claiming the middleweight belt within two years of his February 2018 debut.
Six straight wins in 12 months took 'The Last Stylebender' to a UFC title fight with then-champion Robert Whittaker in Melbourne last October.
Adesanya dispatched the Australian inside two rounds to ascend atop the UFC food chain and on the verge of global superstardom
But Jones is far from impressed, believing the Kiwi has been grossly overhyped.
"He doesn't impress me one bit," said Jones.
"This is not K1 [kickboxing], this is MMA, and all I see in that guy is an overhand right and a stiff leg kick - that's it. I've studied him a lot and I can tell you I've seen 100 guys just like him.
"I'm not impressed by anything he does, despite the fact he has seemingly impressed the MMA world."
Asked for reaction to Jones' comments, a City Kickboxing teammate of Adesanya's replied with only "lol".
The undefeated Kiwi will get the chance to prove Jones wrong, when he defends his newly won title against Cuban wrestler Yoel Romero at UFC 248 on March 8.