UFC Middleweight Champion Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya’s head coach spoke with Submission Radio, and revealed a bold plan for the champ. Eugene Bareman of City Kickboxing spoke about a potential move to heavyweight to take on the current champion, Stipe Miocic.
The head coach was first asked about Adesanya fighting UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones at heavyweight. Bareman said, “Yep. Fighting at heavyweight is not a problem for Israel. He’s not going to weigh heavyweight. That wouldn’t be where our advantage is. He would never weigh what a heavyweight would. [He would] fight [at his] walk around weight, which is like barely past [the] middleweight [limit].”
Bareman then said, “Israel stated [it], and I think it’s a very good plan. He’s going to do his thing in the middleweight division, [there are] some really tough challenges. You should clear those out. There’s at least three or four more good challenges.”
For the timeline of this bold move, the head coach said, “Three or four more fights for Israel is like, maybe within this year. So after that, what’s the next challenge?” Bareman answered his own question by saying, “It’s to move up in weight.”
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The Last Stylebender May Be on a Collision Course With UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic
Bareman then calls the shot, “Trust me. If he has his three or four more middleweight fights, we will push to fight Stipe [Miocic].” Miocic is the reigning UFC heavyweight champion. Bareman continues, “100 percent, that’s the fight. I was half joking to get the attention off of all this Jon Jones stuff. But I’m making a serious claim here.”
He said to Submission Radio, “[If he] can get the business done at middleweight and if [he’s] successful, then he will definitely like to move up and challenge Stipe. That’s a serious thing.”
“Let’s see if that hurries along Jon Jones,” the manager said. Adesanya and Jones have been going back and forth, with the intent of a potential fight in the future. Many fans have been clamoring to see the two champions in the Octagon together. But whether it’s Miocic or Jones, Adesanya won’t be the man making the decision.
Earlier in the interview, his manager made it clear, “It’s not up to Israel. I make the decision on the fights. So come 2021, Israel has to convince me that we should fight Jon Jones. And if I don’t feel that we have to, then it’s not going to happen. It’s not even Israel’s call.”
Adesanya Is Scheduled to Fight Yoel Romero at UFC 248 on March 7
Bateman tells Submission Radio that they aren’t focusing on this bold move, and it’s “on the backburner.” They are locked in on The Last Stylebender’s next opponent, Yoel Romero. The two men will battle it out in the main event of UFC 248 on March 7, and even though Romero is 0-2 in his last two fights, he is as deadly of an opponent as Adesanya has faced.
This is The Last Stylebender’s first defense of the middleweight strap after taking it from Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in October 2019.