Although he’ll be moving up in weight this weekend, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has no intentions of leaving behind the 185-pound division for good.
In fact, “The Last Stylebender” recently said that he’ll “definitely go back down to 185” at some point.
“I’ll definitely go back down to 185,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie. “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.”
At this moment, however, Adesanya’s sole focus is on the task at hand. The undefeated New Zealander will attempt to become only the fifth two-weight champion in UFC history when he takes on reigning 205-pound titleholder Jan Blachowicz in the main event of a stacked UFC 259 card on Saturday.
Against Blachowicz, who recently won the title with a second-round stoppage victory over Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 last year, Adesanya will be facing a power-punching light heavyweight who has proven himself capable of ending fights in the blink of an eye.
So while it would make sense that Adesanya look to put on more size in preparation for Blachowicz, “The Last Stylebender” claims that he hasn’t changed much ahead of UFC 259. It’s simply business as usual for the 185-pound champion.
“(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.”
Regardless of the outcome of UFC 259’s main event, Adesanya will have options when it comes to what’s next.
If he does wish to return to middleweight, a contender will likely be waiting for him. Darren Till and Marvin Vettori will face off next month, followed by a bout between former champion Robert Whittaker and former title challenger Paulo Costa a week later. Depending on how those two fights turn out, one of the four will be deserving of a title shot.
And if he ends up securing another UFC title, Adesanya will have his choice of where he wants his next move to take place.
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.