If Israel Adesanya is to be believed, then he has turned down an opportunity to step in as an emergency backup for UFC 234’s main event.
UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittker is expected to defend his gold against Kelvin Gastelum on Feb. 9 (Feb. 10 Australia time). The title bout will headline UFC 234. The card is set to take place in Melbourne, Australia. One strategy that the UFC has been implementing is having an emergency replacement on standby in case any last-minute mishaps occur.
Israel Adesanya Turns Down Replacement Spot
UFC president Dana White said he planned to meet with Adesanya in Australia for a potential future title opportunity. The idea of having Adesanya as an emergency replacement was brought up. “The Last Stylebender” told the New Zealand Herald that he turned down the opportunity:
“He mentioned it but I said no, I’m not about that.”
Adesanya has been making a statement in the middleweight division. The undefeated mixed martial artist has an impressive kickboxing resume, but his improved all-around game has been something to behold. His ability to avoid takedowns from Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson sent a clear message to the UFC’s 185-pound division.
What’s next for Adesanya remains unclear, but many would say a showdown with Jacare Souza would determine if “The Last Stylebender” is truly ready for a UFC title shot. Souza is coming off a TKO victory over Chris Weidman.
Do you think Israel Adesanya vs. Jacare Souza should take place to determine who meets the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum?