MMA Ratings Podcast

October 7, 2019

UFC 243: Israel Adesanya vs. Jon Jones Is the Biggest Fight the UFC Can Make Right Now

By Adam Martin

After knocking out Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC 243 in front of a record-setting 57,000 fans, there's no doubt that UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya has transformed into a bona fide superstar. The UFC is always looking for new fighters that can break into the mainstream, and Adesanya is one of them. He's going to be a money-making machine for the UFC for a long time.

Now that Adesanya is the UFC Middleweight Champion, the natural question is who is next up for him. It seems like that is likely going to be Paulo Costa. It makes sense. There's heat between the two of them, and Costa is the #1 contender in the UFC middleweight division. It's the easiest fight for the UFC to book, and the smart money is on this fight happening for both men next.

But if you asked me what I would do with Adesanya, I'd book him against UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones in what I believe is the biggest fight the promotion could book right now. Yes, it seems crazy that Adesanya could move up in weight and fight Jones, the greatest MMA fighter of all time. But both men have been talking trash to each other, and it's a fight that sells itself.

No one other than Matt Hamill via DQ has been able to hang a defeat on Jones' record. In fact, very few fighters have even given Jones a sweat. But Adesanya could be someone who actually gives Jones issues. As far as weight goes, yes, Adesanya would be giving up a few pounds. But Adesanya is the same height as Jones at 6'4" and he has an 80" reach compared to Jones' 84" reach; Adesanya is taller and longer than most light heavyweights. Even though he might not weigh as much, given his technical striking ability and KO power, I'm convinced Adesanya can beat Jones.

Also, Jones doesn't have anyone on his radar right now. Sure there are guys like Dominick Reyes, Chris Weidman, and Jan Blachowicz who could challenge him, but none of those guys move the needle like Adesanya does. Plus, Adesanya is still the middleweight champ, so even if he moves up to light heavyweight and loses, he can still go back down to middleweight to fight Costa and the other contenders. Yes, losing to Jones would hurt Adesanya's stock. But imagine he beats Jones? His stock would skyrocket.

At some point all the greats fall. Fedor Emelianenko lost. Georges St. Pierre lost. Anderson Silva lost. Demetrious Johnson lost. Jones hasn't been beaten yet, but one day he could. In the past few years, no one at light heavyweight has been able to give Jones issues aside from Thiago Santos, but there has to be someone on this planet who can beat Jones, and Adesanya might just be that guy. At this point, you can't deny Adesanya's greatness.

Again, I fully expect the UFC to book Adesanya vs. Costa, and that's a great fight that makes a lot of sense. But I truly believe Adesanya is one of the few fighters who can give Jones problems, and if I was the UFC matchmakers, this is the fight I would be pushing for. The UFC is all about booking the biggest fights possible, and there's no bigger fight right now than Adesanya vs. Jones. It's a money-making fight between arguably the two biggest stars in the sport right now, and the UFC should strongly consider booking it. Waiting for the right time never seems to work in MMA. If I'm the UFC, I strike while the iron is hot and I book Adesanya against Jones in a true superfight.

UFC 243
Robert Whittaker vs. Israel Adesanya (UFC Middleweight Championship): Israel Adesanya def. Robert Whittaker via knockout (punches) at 3:33 of Round 2.

UFC 243: Whittaker vs. Adesanya took place October 5, 2019 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.

Click HERE for more UFC 243 Post-Fight Analysis

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