Home / News / Israel Adesanya plays down rivalry with fellow UFC champion Jon Jones

Israel Adesanya plays down rivalry with fellow UFC champion Jon Jones

Mar 29, 2023Mar 29, 2023

Adesanya and Jones were once linked to a UFC clash after becoming embroiled in a bitter rivalry, but any chance of the UFC champions fighting is now off the table

Israel Adesanya's rivalry with Jon Jones is dead and buried despite the UFC champions previously teasing a fight.

Adesanya traded words with Jones three years ago when the pair were separated by just one weight class, but any chance of a fight between them was scratched when Jones recently moved up heavyweight. Adesanya, who reclaimed his middleweight title by knocking out Alex Pereira in April, admitted to being a fan of Jones for over a decade and said he is done trading words with the consensus greatest UFC fighter of all-time.

"I’ve been a fan of Jon since I saw him at UFC 94," Adesanya said on Impaulsive. "He fought Stephan Bonnar, rest in peace. I saw what he did in that fight and I saw a fan. I think he was [of me] as well. Then he mentioned something like, ‘Oh, I’d like to fight Israel.’ Why the f*** does this guy want to fight me? I’m a middleweight. I responded back and we had beef.

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"For a few years, it was like that, then after I fought [Paulo] Costa it went really deep then that was around the time it could have happened but I don't know what happened. Scheduling, Covid reasons, whatever. I fought Jan Blachowicz instead. Real recognise real, I’ll put it that way."

Adesanya cited growth and maturity as the reason for ditching his feud with Jones, who recently named 'The Last Stylebender' as his favourite current UFC fighter. Adesanya was bewildered to hear this given his past rivalry with the two-weight UFC champion, but 'Bones' admitted to being captivated by Adesanya's rivalry with Pereira.

"In the UFC, my favourite fighter right now, I hate to admit it, I hate to admit it, but I would say Israel Adesanya," Jones told Sporting News. "Israel Adesanya, him and I are not friends but he's probably the most entertaining guy in the organisation right now. His whole story with Pereira, that whole saga they had, it was probably the most entertaining thing I’ve seen out of the UFC in a while."

Adesanya is expected to defend his middleweight belt against the winner of Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis' upcoming fight at UFC 290 next month. Retirement could be on the cards for Jones after his pencilled-in title fight against Stipe Miocic, which is expected to take place at UFC 295 in November.

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