Israel Adesanya reclaimed the middleweight throne with a massive knockout win over Alex Pereira.
Now, he awaits for his next opponent, as he’ll face off against either Robert Whittaker or Dricus Du Plessis.
However, it seems there are some rumblings that Israel Adesanya could take on Khamzat Chimaev. As exciting as that matchup might be, the middleweight champ has a different opponent in mind.
According to MMA Fighting, Adesanya claims he’s open to fighting Chimaev. But he followed that up stating he has “bigger fish to fry.”
Here’s the champ’s full statement.
“Trust me, I’m not scared of nobody on this f***** planet. No one. And also, guess what, I like a challenge. [Chimaev] presents something unique that — I’ve seen wrestlers before. It’s a big fight. That’s why I like that. Cheddar makes it better. But he’s got Kamaru [Usman] and after that is probably gonna go for the title [if he wins]. I’ve got bigger fish to fry. I’m gonna be there in July [for UFC 290] and I’mma see what’s up. Not with Rob, with Du Plessis.”
So, maybe a fight between Israel Adesanya and Khamzat Chimaev could come to fruition in the future. In the meantime, the middleweight champion has his eyes set on Du Plessis.
He’s called out Du Plessis before. However, even that fight isn’t a guarantee. Du Plessis must defeat Whittaker at UFC 290. If he loses, then Adesanya still won’t get his wish.
Meanwhile, Chimaev has been calling out Kamaru Usman for a while now. Although nothing is set in stone, rumors are swirling the UFC may make that fight happen.
The next best move for Chimaev would be to challenge the welterweight champion Leon Edwards.
Additionally, Khamzat Chimaev has tried calling out Israel Adesanya before, but it’s been to no prevail.
Here’s what Adesanya had to say about the trash talk, per MMA Fighting.
“He said some s*** in the past. He always tweets after my fights anyway but I don’t respond to nonsense. Everyone does. I’m the champ. Even when Pereira took the belt, I was still the champ. I wasn’t the UFC champion, but they still called me champ on the streets because I’m me. I’m Israel Adesanya. I have that name, that target on my back no matter what and I said that even leading up to this last fight.”
With that said, a perfect scenario would be for Chimaev to become the welterweight champion while Adesanya continues his reign. If it gets to that point, it’s not hard to imagine the UFC setting up a champ vs. champ fight down the road.
But as of right now, that could all just be a dream.