Jon Jones Has Come Out Strongly Against the UFC’s Latest New Star Israel Adesanya… Does the Light-Heavyweight Champion Feel Threatened by the Nigerian-New Zealander’s Rapid Rise?
While Conor McGregor sits on the sidelines, Jon Jones is undoubtedly the biggest active star in MMA. That’s no disrespect to the likes of Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagamedov, or Max Holloway. Jones just has the Stardust and an absolute killer reputation. But does he feel threatened by the rapid rise of another lanky, charismatic champion?
Israel Adesanya is on an incredible run since his UFC debut. Four wins in 2018 and one in 2019 put him in pole position for an interim title shot against Kelvin Gastelum. The two men served up a classic and ‘The Last Stylebender’ rallied against adversity to finally prove that he is indeed an elite MMA fighter.
That’s bad news for Jones. While the two have been linked to fight in the future, it’s Adesanya’s unblemished record, his charisma, good looks and exciting style that could all combine to make him the UFC’s next superstar.
— Mac 11 (@Corey_Mac11) April 14, 2019
It could be that Jones is looking for an easy payday, and believes that the lighter Adesanya would be easy pickings. However, he’s also been very quick to come down hard on Adesanya’s star potential. Is he afraid that Adesanya will leap ahead of him in terms of marketability? Look at this tweet Jones wrote after ‘The Last Stylebender’s’ interim title win:
“Well said, my man had a toe to toe kickboxing match with a short stubby wrestler. There’s only one Jon Jones ladies and gentlemen.”
The determination to make it all about him is in stark contrast to the tweet Conor McGregor sent out praising the efforts of Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier in the main event. This is what happens when money is on the line, and Jones definitely wants to make a lot more.
— He’s Hurt! (@CageSideCam) April 14, 2019
Adesanya definitely has a target on his back. Fellow middleweight contender Paulo Costa also had condemned the 29-year-old. Jones made it clear that he wasn’t talking down Gastelum, who was almost finished in the last ten seconds of the fight – although he had Adesanya on chicken legs earlier in the fight as well. Jones wrote:
“That wasn’t my intention, nothing but respect for Kelvin. Dude Almost beat a kickboxer without throwing a single kick.”
Can you imagine a fight between Jones and Adesanya? While ‘Bones’ would definitely have a power advantage, Adesanya’s striking is arguably the best in MMA today. It would be absolutely fascinating.
First of all, though, Adesanya has to get past Bobby Knuckles. Robert Whittaker’s unfortunate injury record has made a lot of fans forget that he is a destroyer and surely the most underrated champion apart from Rose Namajunas on the roster today. He’s way more dynamic than Gastelum and has a superb chin. If Adesanya can get past him, then superstardom awaits.
“(Adesanya has) got Whittaker to look forward to now,” Dana White told assembled media at UFC 236. “Whittaker is a bad dude. He’s bigger than Kelvin, he hits harder than Kelvin, and he needs to focus on him right now. I know him and Jon Jones have been talking some smack, and listen, if he wins, and he becomes the middleweight champion, obviously I’d love to see him and Jon Jones fight.
But we’ll see how everything plays out and timing. Because the other thing is if Israel fights Whittaker and wins, there’s other guys that have been waiting in line, too, to fight for the title. If (Ronald) ‘Jacare’ (Souza) keeps winning and doesn’t get a title fight, that guy might kill me. But that Jon Jones fight is going to be out there for Israel no matter what. That ain’t going anywhere.”