UFC president Dana White stated middleweight champ Israel Adesanya will transfer up a weight class to problem Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title. It was a shock announcement late Saturday evening, taking the main target off a lackluster most important occasion that includes Anderson Silva‘s probably UFC exit, and setting in movement a number of potential situations throughout three weight lessons.
If Adesanya does develop into champion of a division lengthy dominated by his archnemesis, Jon Jones, would that entice Jones to place his heavyweight pursuit on maintain and drop again all the way down to attempt to reclaim the title he held for practically a decade? Jones, who hasn’t fought since February, needs to battle for the heavyweight title, however champion Stipe Miocic won’t be able to defend in opposition to Francis Ngannou till March. So is Jones prepared to attend till presumably subsequent fall to battle once more, or would an Adesanya bout be too tempting?
And by the best way, White stated Adesanya will not need to vacate the middleweight title to maneuver up. White stated he obtained the sensation No. 1 middleweight contender Robert Whittaker did not need a rematch with Adesanya, so the promoter moved on to Blachowicz. Whittaker informed ESPN he does want the rematch, however not till March or April due to the arrival of a new child in January.
White additionally stated on Saturday evening that Khabib Nurmagomedov will stay the light-weight champ regardless of having introduced his retirement after beating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. White has talked to Nurmagomedov, and whereas White stated he would not know for certain, he has a feeling Nurmagomedov will battle yet another time and attempt to retire 30-0. Is it wishful pondering, or is White onto one thing?
Holding Nurmagomedov because the champ means the proposed Jan. 23 bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will not be for the title, but when McGregor beats Poirier, it appears sure his subsequent battle can be for the belt. Will 2021 be the yr McGregor regains a title?
ESPN MMA consultants Ariel Helwani, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim talk about what’s actual and what’s not actual.
Actual or not: Adesanya’s talent set shall be too versatile for Blachowicz, and his energy will carry over to mild heavyweight
Wagenheim: Adesanya’s talent set is a handful at middleweight and shall be no much less so at mild heavy, as a result of his talent set begins and ends with velocity. Velocity fuels his elusiveness in addition to his assaults. He’s too quick for 185-pounders to catch as much as, and at 205 he’ll have velocity to kill. In fact, if Blachowicz touches Adesanya, it’s going to really feel like nothing he has felt earlier than. However that is asking lots of Blachowicz, who’s a essentially sturdy standup fighter however may have a tough time discovering his vary in opposition to an opponent who at one second shall be proper in entrance of him and within the subsequent instantaneous shall be six inches out of his punching vary. Till Adesanya reappears and fires again.
Rt Izzy transferring as much as LHW and getting an instantaneous title shot is bs.. I like Izzy however to present him a title shot for his first ever 205 is disrespectful to our division!! Jon cannot transfer up and get an instantaneous title shot Silva by no means obtained one however he does? Vs the weakest champ in a decade!
— Jamahal Candy Desires Hill (@JamahalH) November 1, 2020
Will Adesanya’s energy translate? I believe it’s going to, as a result of he is by no means been one to depend on a one-punch difference-maker. He is not a basic quantity puncher, launching offense at each second. His genius is in being among the finest at hitting whereas not being hit. And that is the kind of middleweight who’s most definitely to have success transferring up. Particularly this middleweight.
When Adesanya and Blachowicz are combating at distance, it’s an Adesanya battle. However what about after they get their palms on one another? It will likely be fascinating to watch how Adesanya contends with Blachowicz in clinches and grappling. Will the Pole be in management in clinches or if the battle goes to the canvas? I believe that Adesanya may have a solution. He has been in lots of a clinch with many a robust man, and his talent set has fared simply advantageous. He has proven a capability to remain on his ft, the place he does his finest work.
Actual or not: If Adesanya beats Blachowicz, anticipate a title protection in opposition to Jones making an attempt to reclaim the sunshine heavyweight belt
Ariel Helwani and Daniel Cormier talk about why now’s the time for the UFC to guide a megafight between Jon Jones and Israel Adesanya.
Helwani: The reply needs to be actual, however I do not know what to suppose on the subject of Jones for the time being. I believed the UFC ought to have booked Jones vs. Francis Ngannou this summer time, and I believed they need to have booked Jones vs. Adesanya subsequent, too. Now, I get that if Adesanya wins, him holding Jones’ title going right into a Jones battle would make for a juicy storyline, however is not Jones on the point of battle at heavyweight? So when would this Adesanya-Jones battle really occur? Additionally, the timing of this “announcement” is just a little humorous contemplating it felt like subsequent weekend’s Thiago Santos vs. Glover Teixeira battle was a No. 1 contender battle, proper? Properly, not anymore.
There’s clearly no denying the truth that Adesanya vs. Blachowicz is the most important battle they may make for the 205-pound belt proper now, if it might’t be Adesanya vs. Jones. I simply want Adesanya-Jones was occurring subsequent as a result of lord is aware of that is greater than any title battle, however we’ll have to attend just a little longer for that one, in any case.
Actual or not: White’s hunch on Khabib returning will show prophetic
Khabib Nurmagomedov dominates Justin Gaethje throughout their bout and would later get emotional after ending Gaethje within the second.
Raimondi: I do, certainly, suppose Nurmagomedov will battle once more. There are too many elements pointing within the affirmative. I am not saying what Nurmagomedov stated after UFC 254 was a lie. I really suppose the UFC light-weight champion believed that he can be stepping away, and that he could not go on as a fighter with out his father. However alternatively, Abdulmanap’s dream was for his son to go 30-0. Nurmagomedov is 29-0 now. The concept of coming again for only one extra bout needs to be attractive, proper? Nurmagomedov is just 32 years outdated. He hasn’t taken a lot harm in his profession in any respect. He is contemporary. It makes an excessive amount of sense.
Like White stated Saturday evening, Nurmagomedov was emotional after beating Gaethje. He was injured and sick throughout camp. The burden minimize was clearly very tough. Nurmagomedov absolutely did not even need to take into consideration leaping into coaching camp once more and doing it throughout. Ending Gaethje was the discharge of a burden, and now he completely deserves a while to relaxation and ponder his future. Nobody ought to maintain Nurmagomedov to what he stated within the second, adrenaline racing, thoughts going a mile a minute.
With all that being stated, it needs to be proper for Nurmagomedov to return. The best opponent, the best setting, the best setting, the best timing. I am unsure I see Nurmagomedov coming again with out crowds. I do not suppose he comes again for any outdated foe. I consider there are solely two opponents that would actually get Nurmagomedov motivated once more: Georges St-Pierre and Tony Ferguson. St-Pierre was an idol, the person Abdulmanap dreamed his son would battle in the future. The story of Nurmagomedov going for 30-0 in opposition to GSP, one of many best ever, can be extremely wealthy. Then there’s Ferguson, who was Nurmagomedov’s finest peer — and largest potential problem — for years that he by no means fought. The bout was put collectively 5 occasions and fell aside every time. Both a type of can be a becoming finish to one of many best careers we have ever seen in MMA.
Actual or not: McGregor would be the light-weight champ in 2021
Ariel Helwani experiences on Conor McGregor accepting a battle vs. Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23, however McGregor has a stipulation that he needs the battle to happen at AT&T Stadium.
Okamoto: This can be a powerful one to reply for the time being, seeing as how we’ve an undefeated UFC light-weight champion in Khabib, who simply definitively acknowledged he will not battle once more. The UFC’s choice to not vacate the title and transfer on on this state of affairs surprises me. However let’s bear in mind one factor: The UFC badly, badly needs to guide a rematch between Nurmagomedov and McGregor. That is the battle the UFC needs, and has needed for a very long time. Maybe the play right here is to maintain Nurmagomedov within the recreation, the subject of dialog, as a lot as potential, hope McGregor beats Poirier on Jan. 23 after which talks Nurmagomedov into coming again for yet another.
I do not suppose Nurmagomedov feels there’s any unfinished enterprise with McGregor, at the least on the subject of competing within the Octagon, but when McGregor have been to look nice in opposition to a authentic opponent in Poirier, after which minimize a unbelievable promo for a title battle in opposition to Nurmagomedov … is it potential Nurmagomedov would come again? I will be sincere, I hope so. And the UFC hopes so, too. It is value it to the UFC proper now to maintain Nurmagomedov the champion, and at the least hold the door open for him to battle once more. To reply the query, I will say not actual, too many variables at play. However it’s definitely potential, and regardless, light-weight goes to be very, very enjoyable in 2021.