Coach: Israel Adesanya could move to light heavyweight for next fight

Israel Adesanya
Image via @ufc on Instagram (photographer not listed)

City Kickboxing coach Eugene Bareman says his star pupil, Israel Adesanya, could move up to the light heavyweight division for his next fight.

Adesanya is the current UFC middleweight champion, and defended his strap with a second-round TKO win over the formerly unbeaten Paulo Costa late last month. Since that win over Costa, he’s made no secret of the fact that he’d like to fight Jared Cannonier next—provided Cannonier gets by Robert Whittaker at UFC 254.

While Adesanya has targeted a middleweight title defense against Cannonier, Bareman claims the middleweight champion could take a light heavyweight fight first if Cannonier isn’t prepare to make a quick turnaround after UFC 254.

“If Cannonier didn’t want to turn around and fight, then Israel would definitely fight at 205,” Bareman said on Submission Radio (h/t MMA Fighting). “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.

“But yeah, if Cannonier wanted to wait longer because he didn’t want to turn around things really quickly, then maybe Israel can go to 205.”

Adesanya has recently been engaged in a heated war of words with Jon Jones, the greatest light heavyweight in UFC history. While Jones recently vacated the light heavyweight title with plans to move up to heavyweight, Adesanya is still interested in fighting him.

From the sounds of it, this massive superfight could also happen sooner than anticipated.

“He has got his heart set on doing that fight,” Adesanya said. “It doesn’t matter where Jon Jones goes. If he goes to heavyweight, goes to light heavyweight, goes up and loses two fights, three fights, wins the next three fights, Israel has his heart set on that fight. So yeah, that fight’s gonna happen, I’m just not sure when.

“If we needed to fight that fight in the next six months, then I would be happy to do that, but again, that’s a team decision,” Bareman added. “That’s how we work.”

Would you be interested in seeing Israel Adesanya compete in the light heavyweight division?