Israel Adesanya. PHOTO: Jeff Sainlar Visuals
My son likes bigger challenges, says father
New Zealand-based Nigerian-born UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, says he is confident of becoming a two-weight champion hence his decision to step up to the light heavyweight division.
Israel’s latest move has received the blessing of his father, Mr. Femi Adesanya.
The junior Adesanya confirmed in the early hours of yesterday that he is making the step up to light-heavyweight and is ready to battle it out with Jan Blachowicz for his recently acquired title. The light-heavyweight champion won the title vacated by Jon Jones when he stopped Dominick Reyes at the end of September during UFC 253.
Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman recently revealed they were preparing the middleweight champion to become a two-weight champion, while UFC chief Dana White said the Nigerian-born New Zealander would move up a weight class to fight Blachowicz – according to ESPN.x
Adesanya’s father, Femi, told The Guardian in a telephone chat yesterday from his base in New Zealand that there is nothing to worry about his son’s decision to move to the light-heavyweight. “It’s another challenge that Israel cherishes. By God’s Grace, he will rise up to it.”
Originally, Adesanya had wanted to fight again this year, having dominated Paulo Costa in September to defend his middleweight title and remain unbeaten. But his team is helping Junior Fa prepare for a boxing match with Joseph Parker, and Adesanya is also one of Fa’s sparring partners.
His return will have to wait until 2021 and Blachowicz’s March suggestion could work for all parties.
“Israel is ever ready. He is always training,” the senior Adesanya said.
The UFC middleweight champion had told Submission Radio: “It’s official. I guess Dana broke the news, so yeah, I’m going up to 205, and I’m gonna snatch that 205 strap. Respectfully.’
He revealed the major reason he is targeting a second title at light-heavyweight rather than defending his current belt is having seen Robert Whittaker beat Jared Cannonier at UFC 254, he wanted to try his hand at another weight since he had already beaten the number one contender for his current belt in October last year.
He added: ‘With Jan, he’s a good fighter, he’s solid on the ground, he’s awkward on the feet, very dangerous, and he poses a lot of problems.
“And like, the Whittaker fight wouldn’t get me hard. This gets me hard. Like, this is like, alright, let’s go.
“He’s dangerous on the ground, he’s awkward on the feet, got that legendary Polish power. But yeah, everyone’s got power, right? I mean, it’s something I proved in my last fight. I told y’all. You have to delivery that power somehow, you have to get it to the target. I’m not the easiest target to hit.’
Meanwhile, Blachowicz recently promised ‘fireworks’ and suggested March next year for a fight with Adesanya.
After catching wind of his rival’s plan to move up weight, Blachowicz tweeted: ‘I have heard that Israel Adesanya wants to face me next.
“No problem, if you are ready to fight in March, let’s do this. Prepare for some fireworks guys.’