Jared Cannonier says he is more than ready to step in if Israel Adesanya or Paulo Costa is forced out of the UFC 253 main event.
Costa will challenge Adesanya for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 253, scheduled for September 26. Cannonier, meanwhile, is scheduled to take on the division’s former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 roughly a month later, on October 24.
Should disaster strike the UFC 253 main event, Cannonier says he’ll be ready to make the 185-pound limit for middleweight championship bouts and step in.
“I got my contender’s fight,” Cannonier told MMA Fighting, referencing his fight Whittaker. “If it wasn’t the contender’s fight, it would have been the title fight. At this point in time, it still potentially could be.
“If anything happens with those guys, I’m more than willing and ready, that’s my plan. That’s the plan I have ahead of me. I’m getting ready for that date, September 26. That’s the date I’m getting ready for. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll be more than ready for October 24.”
Even before the current pandemic took hold, fight cancelations were an ever-present possibility. During the pandemic, however, fights have been getting nixed with far greater frequency.
Given that fact, Cannonier seems to believe it’s very possible he’ll fight on September 26.
“Given the times with COVID-19,” Cannonier said, “we’ve seen fights change, main events change, what, 60 percent [of the time] was it last year from the original booking. I’m ready. I’ve been ready since my pec tore. Now it’s time.
“That’s where I stand right now,” Cannonier added. “I’m more than ready. That’s not going to be a hard weight cut. It’s not going to be a last minute thing for me. I’m going to be ready for that date. That’s just it.
“At the end of the day, I’m really glad to be back training more than anything,” Cannonier added. “I have a lot of fun working and training and learning and trying to figure out the different aspects of my craft.
“These big fights and stuff are just field tests. In my mind, bigger things are going to happen after the fights. That’s really what I’m preparing for. I’m just going to have as much fun along the way.”
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