Israel Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman has laid out the next plans for the newly-crowned UFC middleweight champion. Bareman agreed on an opponent suggestion for “The Last Stylebender” while rejecting another name that’s been getting a lot of hype.
Israel Adesanya’s coach wants Jamahal Hill next
In an interview with Submission Radio, Bareman welcomed the idea of a fight between Adesanya and light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill.
“Let’s do it. Let’s do it,” he said.
“And honestly, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter [about whether we match up well with the current champ]. Like, every fighter that you fight will have flaws. And that’s up to the opponent and the team to take advantage of them.
“So, Jamahal Hill, I’m not being disrespectful, I haven’t seen him fight yet, I don’t think. But I don’t watch the fights. I just watch my guys fight. I don’t watch UFC fights. I watch my guys fight generally, and that’s it. So, he’s a very tough champion.
“If you’re a world champion, you’re the best of the best, I’m sure. He is a very tough fight. I’ve seen him at the after party, I’m sure he is a nice fella. But it’s not about that. Like, it’s about the challenges, man. When you get to this level, it’s about challenges. Let’s do it. Sign it, like, get it done, boys. Can you get it done?”
Bareman explains why a Chimaev fight doesn’t make sense
Another possible option for Israel Adesanya is Khamzat Chimaev, who’s been getting a ton of hype since his entry into the UFC in 2020. But for Bareman, granting “Borz” a title shot would be “devaluing” the middleweight title.
“We can’t be ridiculous. This is the most prestigious title in the sport. Okay, sometimes business takes precedent. I understand that. But you can’t… like, you’re gonna give a guy a title shot [so quickly]?
“Like, you’re just devaluing the organization. You’re devaluing the sport. You’re devaluing everything that we’ve stood for in terms of the middleweight title and what we’ve done, what Anderson’s done, what GSP’s done, what Bisping’s done when he won the title. You’re just devaluing all of that.”
How Chimaev can earn a title shot
Bareman isn’t completely opposed to a fight between Israel Adesanya and Chimaev, and explained how the latter can earn his way to a crack at UFC gold.
“At the minimum? At the minimum, fight three guys that no one’s ever heard of, like Pereira. That seems to be… but obviously I’m not arguing against fighting Khamzat. I think Khamzat would be a great fight. He’s a big name, he’s a challenge, and we’re all about challenges.
“He brings his high-level MMA wrestling. I’m not gonna say high-level wrestling. High-level MMA wrestling to the sport. That’s a challenge, and I love the challenge. But I’m arguing for the prestige of the [title], I’m arguing for the UFC, for the brand, for the sport. That’s what I’m arguing. Khamzat would be a great fight.
“And just like Israel says to all these opponents, I hope you go out there and get the job done. Do your job so that you can see him. I would love that. Your average idiot out there, MMA idiot, has to understand, when you reach this level, you don’t shy away from challenges, you welcome them.
“The challenge is so big because they’re so prestigious. And if you take away the prestige by this nonsense, there’s a certain amount of business and there’s a certain amount of just what makes sense for the organization and for the prestige of the organization, and that it’s the best title in the world.”
The undefeated Chimaev (12-0) last saw action at UFC 279 against Kevin Holland. He is rumored to be facing former title contender Paulo Costa at UFC 294 on October 21 in Abu Dhabi.
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