UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was supposed to defend his title opposite Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 over the weekend. Unfortunately, a serious health issue forced him out of this fight, leaving the middleweight title picture mired in uncertainty.
Whittaker and Gastelum’s fight is now expected to be rescheduled for sometime later this year, and top middleweight contender Israel Adesanya plans to wait for his shot at the winner.
“In the long term, I’m the No. 1 contender,” Adesanya said at the UFC 234 post-fight press conference (via MMA Fighting). “I’m the guy fighting for the belt. I don’t care. Kelvin or Rob, whoever it is. I’m fighting for the belt. Whoever has the belt, because I see Kelvin walking around with that belt and I don’t know who gave it to him. I’m fighting for the belt next — that’s all I know. I did my job, I showed up to work.
“I can wait for however long I need to, because I’ve done so much for the company,” Adesanya added. “I’ve played my part. And I’m the No. 1 contender. ‘Jacare’ [Souza] can fight Kelvin. Oh, they already fought already. Get a rematch — I don’t care. I showed up to work, that’s all I know.”
Interestingly, Israel Adesanya confirmed that the original plan was to have the winner of his fight with Silva square off with the Whittaker-Gastelum winner in the cage after the main event.
“That was the plan with me and Dana. So, after Kelvin and Rob would have fought, I said, ‘What happens is, I come back out.’ Not like [Daniel Cormier] and Brock Lesnar on some, I’m gonna push you, some fake WWE shit. I just wanted to stand there. Hopefully, if Rob won just face off for like 30 seconds intensely. I felt like that would have set that place on fire, hyped up the next fight straight away. If he wasn’t too hurt. Because it could have been a war, Kelvin is no joke,” he said.
“That was the plan, but unfortunately variables happen. I was the main event. Those pay-per-view points gotta go somewhere. We’ll see.”
What do you think the future holds for Israel Adesanya after UFC 234?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 2/11/2019.