Israel Adesanya turns down backup spot for Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum fight at UFC 234

You can scratch Israel Adesanya off the list of potential backup fighters for the Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum middleweight title fight at UFC 234.

That’s according to Adesanya himself who told the New Zealand Herald that following a meeting with UFC President Dana White last week he’s not interested in taking that spot.

“[White] mentioned it but I said no, I’m not about that.” Israel Adesanya told the New Zealand Herald.

Israel Adesanya (15-0) is coming off a highlight reel finish over Derek Brunson at UFC 230 where he finished the JacksonWink MMA product in the first round.

The former GLORY kickboxing standout claims he will compete in a title eliminator against an unnamed opponent for his next bout. Potential opponents for the Kiwi could include Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, who also won at UFC 230 knocking out former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Former title challenger Yoel Romero could also be available as could former champion Luke Rockhold.

Israel Adesanya also revealed in the interview that he’ll continue to train over the holidays, with an early 2019 return date in mind for his next fight. There were rumblings about an injury Adesanya sustained in his win over Derek Brunson at UFC 230, however the 29-year-old says the injury isn’t causing him any issues.

“Stylebender” has made a strong case for Fighter of The Year having gone 4-0 in the octagon in 2018. The City kickboxing product had an impressive UFC debut in February where he knocked out Rob Wilkinson in the second round at UFC 221. He followed that up with a split decision victory over Kings MMA standout Marvin Vettori at UFC on FOX 29. Then this past July during International Fight Week, he earned a dominant unanimous decision over Brad Tavares in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale.

Who do you want to see Israel Adesanya fight next?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/19/2018.