Israel Adesanya has been in the headlines recently for his verbal wars with Paulo Costa and Jon Jones. But, when it comes to Jared Cannonier, “The Last Stylebender” admits he’s a fan of the hard hitting, middleweight contender.

Cannonier’s rise up the middleweight ranks

Cannonier joined the UFC back in 2015 as a heavyweight, but after going 1-1 at that weight, he dropped down to 205. After going 2-3 in the light-heavyweight division, some folks may have written Cannonier off as a top-tier fighter.

But, last November, Cannonier made the drop to 185, and took out David Branch. This past May, he stopped Anderson Silva with a leg kick, and last month he moved into the title shot mix by taking out Jack Hermansson.

Adesanya’s comments about Cannonier

Well, at UFC 243 last weekend, Adesanya unified the middleweights titles by taking out Robert Whittaker. During the post-fight presser, the vaunted striker was understandably asked about possible challengers. While talking about Cannonier specifically, the champ said this (quotes via MMA Junkie):

“Jared Cannonier, I like that guy,” Adesanya said. “He’s a cool dude. I like his style. I like the fact that he came down from heavyweight to light heavyweight, now middleweight. I’m impressed with what he’s doing. He still has another fight probably (before he’s in line for a title shot). It all depends on who he fights next. One or two fights. I like challenges like that.”

Yup. Adesanya’s certainly not the only person who’s been impressed with Cannonier’s recent run. It will be interesting to see who the UFC taps to fight Cannonier next. If it is another top contender, like say Yoel Romero or Whittaker, and Cannonier wins, a title shot will likely materialize.

Speaking of Whittaker, Adesanya was also asked if he sees a rematch with the now former champ happening down the line.

“I told him, ‘I’m greater than I think I am, and so are you,’” Adesanya said. “And I said I’ll see him again, definitely. He’ll definitely work his way up, and he said, ‘Probably in two fights, I’ll see you again.’”

Yes. When you consider Whittaker is only 28 year’s old and who he defeated during his reign, it would be ridiculous to write him off as a championship contender at this juncture.

As far as Adesanya’s next fight, all signs currently point to him facing the aforementioned Costa next. The latter is undefeated at 13-0 and he’s coming off a win over the longtime contender, Romero.

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