Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is finally putting his feud with fellow UFC title holder Jon Jones to bed. The two had been going at it for years, and for a time there, things got a bit too heated and personal.
“The Last Stylebender” was a recent guest on Logan Paul’s Impaulsive podcast where he also revealed how the beef began.
Israel Adesanya explains how rift with Jones began
According to Israel Adesanya, the beef with “Bones” began around the time he fought Paulo Costa in 2020. He admitted that he was baffled at first, given that they were competing in different weight classes.
“I’ve been a fan of Jon since I saw him at UFC . 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.” Adesanya recalled (transcript by MMA Mania).
“Then he mentioned something like, ‘Oh, I’d like to fight Israel.’ Why the f—k does this guy want to fight me? I’m Middleweight. But then I responded back and we had beef.
“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.”
Israel Adesanya says ‘growth’ and ‘maturity’ ended rift with Jones
For Adesanya, Jones may have felt threatened by his entry into the UFC as a force to reckon with in the middleweight division. But he says that’s all over now, thanks to “growth” and “maturity.”
“Growth is something you have to go through as a human being, as a man especially. Maturity,” Adesanya said.
“There was a point where we were … ah, f—k. I came to the UFC, I felt like — it’s up to him to admit this — he was a fan but then he was kind of like, ‘Ah, there’s another coming in this game and just taking the shine.’”
Israel Adesanya prefers to embody an abundance mindset, and he says his fellow fighters are doing the opposite.
“There’s enough room for us to shine. This is not like a — I even said it about Henry Cejudo when he was talking s—t about me — I’m not even in your weight class, you’re a munchkin.
“You don’t have to hate on me for doing what I’m doing. We can be in our own lanes and be great.”
Jones already squashed his beef with Israel Adesanya
In May, Jones did an interview where he gave props to his now former rival. In his mind, there shouldn’t have been a comparison to begin with.
“I feel like my legacy and my career are past his. If this was like an Instagram following competition then yeah, we’d be neck and neck. But when it comes to our body of work, there’s no competition and there’s no reason for me to compare myself to him,” Jones said of Adesanya.
“He’s done great things, and you know, people say there’s lots of room in the sky for many stars, and he is undoubtedly a star but I feel like our careers are really un-comparable. Not a fight that I need, no.”
What’s next for Israel Adesanya and Jon Jones?
Jones, who turns 35 in July, is fresh off his UFC heavyweight title win over Ciryl Gane in March. He has yet to finalize his first title defense, but he sees himself fighting Stipe Miocic in New York City later in the year.
As for the 33-year-old Adesanya, he is also fresh off a win in April, against rival Alex Pereira. Like Jones, he hasn’t booked his next fight, but he’s willing to take on former champion Robert Whittaker if the latter defeats Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290.
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