ATLANTA – For new UFC interim middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, a hard-fought win over Kelvin Gastelum is the only thing worth talking about right now. The name Jon Jones can wait.
Adesanya shut down a question about the light heavyweight champ at the post-fight presser for UFC 236, telling MMA Junkie, “This is about me. This moment is right now is about what me and what me Kelvin did tonight. None of that.
“I’ll address that at another time. But right now, it’s about me.”
Earlier in the week, Adesanya drew headlines when he welcomed the idea of adding another all-time great to his list of victories. That prompted a terse response from Jones, who downplayed his win over Anderson Silva at UFC 234 and welcomed a fight.
The exchange caught the eyes of UFC President Dana White, who next plans to book Adesanya opposite undisputed middleweight champ Robert Whittaker. Although White expects the title unifier to be a blockbuster, he didn’t dismiss a future superfight.
“(Adesanya has) got Whittaker to look forward to now,” White said. “Whittaker is a bad dude. He’s bigger than Kelvin, he hits harder than Kelvin, and he needs to focus on him right now.
“I know him and Jon Jones have been talking some smack, and listen, if he wins, and he becomes the middleweight champion, obviously I’d love to see him and Jon Jones fight. But we’ll see how everything plays out and timing. Because the other thing is if Israel fights Whittaker and wins, there’s other guys that have been waiting in line, too, to fight for the title. If (Ronald) ‘Jacare’ (Souza) keeps winning and doesn’t get a title fight, that guy might kill me.
“But that Jon Jones fight is going to be out there for Israel no matter what. That ain’t going anywhere.”
Adesanya said he plans to heal up from a tough fight before taking on Whittaker. He mentioned a knee injury suffered in camp for Gastelum that won’t require surgery but does call for rehabilitation.
Jones, meanwhile, is already booked to face Thiago “Marreta” Santos at UFC 239 on July 6 in Las Vegas.
From the looks of things, it looks like the rivalry between Jones and Adesanya isn’t going anywhere. Not long after Adesanya claimed his gold, the light heavyweight champ threw shade at his middleweight counterpart.