Israel Adesanya is a rising star in the UFC. The New Zealander signed with the promotion early in 2018 and has had a phenomenal year. The 29-year-old went 4-0 in 2018 and is the favorite to win breakthrough fighter of the year. Adesanya went from a virtual unknown to being ranked sixth in the middleweight division in only a matter of a couple months.
In his most recent effort, Adesanya defeated Derrick Brunson at UFC 230 which put him into the top ten of the rankings. Following his stoppage victory over Brunson, Adesanya stated his desire to fight for the title in his next octagon appearance. However, with Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum booked for early in 2019, Adesanya will most likely have to win another fight before being granted that opportunity.
Who Adesanya’s next opponent will be remains in question. But, after talking with the UFC President, Israel and Dana appear to be on the same page regarding his next matchup.
“We had the same opponent in mind but just he had a different plan of action. So, as soon as I sold him my one, he was like, ‘yup. I like that. I love it. Let’s go’,” Adesanya said to Submission radio. “So, it’s different when I’m in front of you. Like, I’m not here to just f**k around, I’m not here to just beat around the bush, I say what I say and I do what I do. So yeah, he understood and he’s a man. He’s got his own plans, not just for my fight, but for the UFC and onwards as well that you guys will find out later on.”
While Israel Adesanya couldn’t reveal the opponent because the contracts aren’t signed, he did drop a hint that it would be a big name. “Stylebender” has been clamoring for a title shot or a big name, and now it appears he is close to getting the latter.
“Yeah, he’s on board with my plan now and he likes it. I sold him the idea,” Israel Adesanya added. “You guys wait till everything comes to fruition. If the other guy says yes – I should say when he says yes – I don’t know, but I feel like when he says yes, it’s gonna be historic, it’s gonna be something that you guys are gonna buzz over it. And then later on, what I have planned after that, that’s gonna be sick as well. So yeah, in due time everything will unfold.”
For who it could be, a name that has come up is Anderson Silva. Silva is one of the best fighters ever and is eligible to return after serving his USADA suspension. If that is indeed the fight, Adesanya very well gets a big name and a tough opponent. With a win, there is no question Adesanya deserves a title shot and is a star in the making.
Who do you think Israel Adesanya will fight next?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/22/2018.