Going into this past weekend’s UFC 259 main event between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, all eyes were on Adesanya’s bid to become just the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two separate weight classes simultaneously.
While Adesanya would come up short in that bid, his coach revealed that there were even bigger plans for “The Last Stylebender” had he been victorious over Blachowicz, who defended his title with a unanimous decision victory. During an interview with Jimmy Smith on Sirius XM’s Fight Nation, City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman revealed that had they won this past weekend, the plan was for Israel Adesanya to move up and attempt to win a third title, the UFC’s heavyweight title.
🔊"Israel has stated that he's too close to Francis Ngannou to fight him, but if Miocic won, we were going all the way, 100%." – Eugene Bareman of @citykickboxing1 revealed to @jimmysmithmma that Israel Adesanya wanted the heavyweight title next, had he won at #UFC259 pic.twitter.com/o9E6jz6n4d
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) March 8, 2021
“If we won that title [light heavyweight] then for me and our management team, we were going to go all the way. It was like ‘why stop here?’ So we were going to go up [to heavyweight]. It had nothing to do with Jon Jones.
Bareman would go on to add that while there were plans to move to heavyweight if successful in capturing the light heavyweight title, Israel Adesanya would only fight for the heavyweight belt under specific circumstances.
“Israel has stated that he’s too close to Francis Ngannou to fight him, but if [Stipe] Miocic won, we were going to go all the way, 100%. We were going to go from that title [light heavyweight] to the next title. Winner of Miocic/Ngannou.”
While Jon Jones took to social media to put the potential mega-fight between him and Adesanya to rest after the UFC 259 main event, Bareman continued to emphasize that any move up to heavyweight was not with an intent focus on a fight with Jon Jones.
“Jon Jones, he doesn’t really come into our planning. When we’re planning Israel’s career, he [Jon Jones] doesn’t exist in any of those decisions. The only person that exists is in Jon Jones’ and that’s Israel. So yeah, if we beat Blachowicz, we were going to try and do what’s never been done before, given that Miocic won. In an ideal world, and I believe the UFC would’ve begged us, we would’ve gone to the winner of Miocic/Ngannou. That would’ve been our next fight.”
There was plenty of talk about what would be next for Israel Adesanya had he won the light heavyweight title at UFC 259, with many beliving a fight with Jones was coming sooner than later, but according to his head coach, the plan was heavyweight title before Jon Jones.