UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has recently traded quite a bit of trash talk with interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, but he’s not sure he’d be willing to fight him. Jones’ next opponent Thiago Santos, however, would relish the chance to fight Adesanya, even if it meant dropping back down to the middleweight division.
In fact, Thiago Santos says he has had a few encounters with Israel Adesanya in the past, and they haven’t been particularly pleasant.
”I’d love to beat up Adesanya,” Santos told the media in Brazil recently (via MMA Fighting). “I don’t think he’s a nice guy. I would love to fight him. I don’t know, the times I’ve met him… I don’t know, we didn’t get along. The energy, I don’t know. I can’t explain. Same thing with (Michael) Bisping. I’m like that, I feel the person’s energy. I have nothing to say about him. If he’s a bad person or not, I don’t know. But we didn’t get along.”
If Thiago Santos were to meet Israel Adesanya in the cage, he’s confident he’d be able to defeat him. That being said, this is not a fight he’s thinking about for the moment. His focus is glued exclusively to the massive test ahead in Jon Jones.
“As a fighter? He’s talented, he has a gift,” Santos said of Adesanya. “I can’t say a thing about that. But I don’t think he can take it against me. He can’t handle someone who hits him hard, who doesn’t fall for his games. His fight with Anderson [Silva], you can see he’s not that big of a deal.
”But that’s something to think about down the line, I can’t think about it now. I have to think about Jon Jones. I think that, if things go right against Jon Jones and I win, I might unify both [division’s] belts.”
Does a future fight between Thiago Santos and Israel Adesanya interest you? Who do you think would win?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 6/25/2019.