Thursday, January 27, 2022

Bisping Urges Usman & Adesanya To Fight Despite Nigerian Connection

UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping has called for UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman and middleweight king Israel Adesanya to fight, despite being compatriots.

Usman and Adesanya are two of three African champions reigning over divisions in the UFC right now, the other being Francis Ngannou. The pair have been dominant since reaching their respective mountaintops, accumulating a combined eight title defenses.

“The Nigerian Nightmare,” who boasts a perfect 14-0 promotional record, has seen off the challenge of Gilbert Burns and two each from Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington since his title-winning performance against Tyron Woodley in 2019.

“The Last Stylebender,” meanwhile, has defended his gold against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Marvin Vettori since dethroning Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 two-and-a-half years ago. He’s also had a failed pursuit of two-division glory, with Jan Blachowicz adding the first blemish on his professional MMA record earlier this year.

Bisping Says Adesanya Needs “Fresh Meat”

With both men dominating, the pool of contenders is certainly thinning, especially for the Nigerian-New Zealander. While Usman has the likes of Leon Edwards, Vicente Luque, and Khamzat Chimaev likely to challenge for the belt in the near future, Adesanya has beaten most top contenders at 185 pounds.

The middleweight titleholder is set to run it back with Robert Whittaker early next year, but beyond that, aside from the winner of Derek Brunson vs. Jared Cannonier, it’s looking like slim pickings for Adesanya. With that in mind, Michael Bisping believes “The Last Stylebender” needs some “fresh meat” from below.

During a recent episode of his Believe You Me podcast, “The Count” called on Usman and Adesanya to push past their reluctance to meet in the Octagon and battle it out in a superfight.

“I think Usman Just needs to step up and fight fucking Israel Adesanya. I know they’re both from fucking Nigeria, right? So fucking what? So what? I don’t care. I don’t know how many people live in Nigeria, I’m going to guess 75 million. If Adesanya continues to lap everybody and certainly if he beats Robert Whitaker, he needs fresh meat. If Kamaru continues to win, c’mon! C’mon!” (h/t Sportskeeda)

While Usman has already firmly shut down the idea of fighting his fellow Nigerian, both men are seemingly going to be pre-occupied for the first two quarters of 2022 anyway. While Adesanya looks to record a second victory over “The Reaper,” Usman will likely be making his next defense in the first half of the year, potentially opposite former opponent Edwards.

But if both men continue their dominance, perhaps the idea of a dream Usman vs. Adesanya clash will be re-visited.

How do you think a fight between Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya would play out?

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Harvey Leonard
Harvey Leonard is an MMA journalist with experience writing and creating content for publications like Sportskeeda, GiveMeSport, and WhatCulture. He has a degree in Sports Journalism, having graduated from Southampton Solent University in England in 2020.