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Israel Adesanya won't leave middleweights hanging if he wins second belt at UFC 259

MMAJunkie logo MMAJunkie 3/2/2021 Mike Bohn
a person posing for the camera: Israel Adesanya © File photo Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya‘s priority is to return to the middleweight division after UFC 259.

Adesanya, the reigning champ at 185 pounds, will attempt to make history on Saturday (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+ pay-per-view) when he moves up to the light heavyweight division to challenge Jan Blachowicz.

A win would make Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) the fifth fighter in UFC history to be a simultaneous two-division champion. Only one in that group (Amanda Nunes) has moved back down after winning a second belt in a higher weight class, but “The Last Stylebender” said he has no intention of neglecting his championship responsibility should he also claim gold at 205 pounds.

“I’ll definitely go back down to 185,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie on Monday. “I have something else in my head that might interest (me after). But definitely going back down to 185 is my goal. I want to keep my division moving.”

It remains to be seen who could emerge as the No. 1 contender at middleweight for Adesanya’s next defense in that division. Darren Till meets Marvin Vettori in the main event of a UFC Fight Night event on April 10, then Robert Whittaker is scheduled to clash with Paulo Costa in a headliner on on April 17.


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Adesanya didn’t put a specific timeline on when his middleweight belt could be up for grabs again but said any delay won’t be because his body isn’t ready to go back down.

Despite the 20-pound difference between divisions, Adesanya said he didn’t put himself through a physical transformation heading into UFC 259. He claims he’s essentially going into the cage as he would a middleweight, minus a weight cut.

That may be viewed as a questionable tactic given Blachowicz’s size and power, but Adesanya said he’s trusting the elements of his game that have led to the perfect start to his career.

“(I’m going in) just like any other fight, to be honest,” Adesanya said. “I keep the same energy. Nothing’s really changed in my head. For the prep for this camp people ask, ‘Did you do anything different to get ready for this camp?’ All we ever do is get ready for the guy in front of us. That’s the same energy we kept for this camp.

“No weight cut and just doing what I always do. We’re keeping the same energy during fight week, as well. I think it’s silly to add more muscle for this contest when my strength had gotten me to the dance. I trust my body and I trust my skills.”

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