Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
As the UFC schedule begins to unravel for 2021, numerous fights have already been booked or announced including Adesanya moving up to 205 pounds to challenge reigning light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz for the title in March. As the current middleweight champion, Adesanya will seek to join Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes and Henry Cejudo as the only athletes in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously.
Meanwhile, Jones vacated his light heavyweight title in order to focus on a future at heavyweight where he’s expected to challenge the winner of an upcoming fight between champion Stipe Miocic and top-ranked contender Francis Ngannou. Since dropping the 205-pound title, Jones has been bulking up for the move to heavyweight while also adding that he has no intention of ever competing at light heavyweight again.
All of those factors combined have UFC president Dana White calming the waters when it comes to any talk about Jones and Adesanya clashing any time soon if ever.
“With Jon Jones moving up to heavyweight, I don’t know,” White told ESPN when asked about an ideal year for Jones. “Then there’s all the talk between him and Adesanya. I don’t know. Adesanya still has to fight Jan [Blachowicz], which is a tough fight and Jones at heavyweight.
“There’s so many massive hurdles that these guys have to get over. So don’t even get yourself excited thinking about Jon Jones vs. Adesanya.”
Beyond the obvious hurdles that both fighters have to clear before potentially being pitted against each other, there’s another caveat that might possibly doom the matchup all together.
With Jones saying adamantly that he never intends on fighting at 205 pounds again, it would mean Adesanya would likely have to travel all the way to heavyweight for that bout to happen.
In White’s mind, the ideal weight class where Jones and Adesanya would clash would be at light heavyweight but now the former UFC champion has cast doubts that he’ll ever return to his old stomping grounds.
“Light heavyweight,” White responded when asked about the weight class for the potential fight. “Jon Jones fought light heavyweight his whole career. Adesanya’s willing to move up to fight Jan for the title.
“But does Jon Jones even want to go back to light heavyweight ever again? That just blows the whole thing right out of the water.”
For his part, Adesanya has said he’d be willing to go up to heavyweight regardless of the fight against Jones after he competed in that division during his career as a kickboxer.
If he’s able to capture the light heavyweight title in March, “The Last Stylebender” might have the kind of pull necessary to talk the UFC into allowing him to move up another division to face Jones.
Then again the logistical nightmare to make that happen could also be a bridge too far.
For now, Adesanya will focus on his task at hand, which involves a fight against Blachowicz in March while Jones anxiously awaits his heavyweight debut later this year.