Talks of a potential fight between Israel Adesanya and Jon Jones had reached a point to where it was starting to be expected that the two would mix it up in the Octagon at some point instead of just on social media. Israel Adesanya was the UFC middleweight champion, Jon Jones was the light heavyweight champion, so a champion vs. champion grudge match between fighters separated by one division seemed like an inevitable blockbuster.
In the first quarter of 2021, the landscape is now completely different. Israel Adesanya is days away from challenging Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title, and Jon Jones is expected to make a run at the heavyweight title around this summer. Plus, Adesanya has stated this week that he plans on returning to the middleweight division to defend the title after UFC 259, win or lose.
What Are The Chances Of Adesanya vs. Jones In 2021?
Israel Adesanya had once plotted a summer 2021 showdown with Jon Jones, but with both fighters with a full plate and prioritizing other goals at the moment, the world is going to have to wait for an Adesanya vs. Jones event. But according to the middleweight champion, that wait may not be indefinite.
“Unfortunately, it might not be summer or July. But there’s still December,” Adesanya said in an interview with ESPN this week. “There’s still December 2021. It can happen then. All I know is that this fight needs a crowd. That fight needs a crowd. I can’t do that in an empty arena.”
Jon Jones is currently all in on his commitment to the heavyweight division, so if an Adesanya vs. Jones fight were to take place, all appearances are that it would need to be in the heavyweight division. Adesanya has expressed an openness to fighting at heavyweight in the past, so this is not a dealbreaker.
What does further complicate the likelihood of the fight happening, though, is if Francis Ngannou becomes the heavyweight champion at UFC 260 and then goes on to defeat Jon Jones later this year. If this scenario plays out, the only way to see an Adesanya/Jones bout in the near future would be as a non-title fight. And interdivisional non-title superfights are just as rare now as champion vs. champion fights used to be a decade ago.
Do you believe we will see Israel Adesanya vs. Jon Jones in 2021 or 2022?