Israel Adesanya explains why he likes Khamzat Chimaev bout, but has ‘bigger fish to fry’

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya isn’t afraid of a fight with Khamzat Chimaev, but it’s not the first one on his list.

By: Kristen King | 4 months ago
Israel Adesanya explains why he likes Khamzat Chimaev bout, but has ‘bigger fish to fry’
Israel Adesanya at UFC 271 | IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Israel Adesanya says he would love to conquer a ‘unique’ challenge in Khamzat Chimaev, but is focused on other challengers for his next fight. Now a two-time UFC middleweight champion after his second-round KO of Alex Pereira at UFC 287 this past April, Adesanya is reportedly set to return to the Octagon for a defense against the winner of Robert Whittaker vs. Dricus Du Plessis

Khamzat Chimaev to Israel Adesanya: I’m the real money fight

However, to Chimaev, neither of those names deserve a fight with Adesanya. In a recent video on his official Youtube channel, ‘Borz’ said the real lucrative fight for the ‘Last Stylebender’ is against him, but believes the promotion is protecting their newly crowned champion. 

“For Israel, there’s nobody there — only me,” said Chimaev. “So if you spoke about money, if you ask the fans, they want to see me and Israel. I’m a bad matchup for him. Everyone knows he’s going to lose the title [to me]. That’s why they save that guy.

“They built up him. They don’t want to lose him that fast,” continued Chimaev. “[I’d] finish that guy without punches, and that’s why they’re scared. Then [his] story’s dead, you know? They don’t want to kill that guy. Maybe the guy makes money for them, but I still make money, as well, so I don’t know what’s going on. Who is he going to fight? There is nobody. He wins against all the strikers, and I’m a wrestler — a killer. I squeeze the heads of my opponents.”

Since his arrival to the UFC, Chimaev has spent time at welterweight and middleweight, the latter of which he is 2-0 with wins against John Phillips and Gerald Meerschaert. After a massive weight miss for his welterweight fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 279 this past September, UFC president Dana White said the Swedish fighter would move to middleweight, the weight class he was ‘in a position’ to fight ‘top three guys in the world’

Among those top three guys was Adesanya, who Chimaev has said was ‘easy money’ for him. 

Israel Adesanya has ‘bigger fish to fry’ ahead of Khamzat Chimaev

Israel Adesanya has since responded to Chimaev, saying he needs no protection from a potential fight. 

“Trust me, I’m not scared of no one on this f—king planet,” said Adesanya on IMPAULSIVE. “No one. And also, guess what? I like a challenge. That presents something unique that I haven’t — I’ve seen wrestlers before. It’s a big fight. That’s why I like it. Cheddar makes it better. 

“But he’s got Kamaru [Usman] and I think after that he’s probably going to go for the title [if he wins],” continued Adesanya. “But he’s got Kamaru coming off a loss as well. Off a loss to Leon [Edwards]. But I’ve got bigger fish to fry. I’m going to be there in July and I’ll see what’s up. Bigger fish. Not with Rob, with Du Plessis.”

Adesanya and Du Plessis have exchanged words recently over comments from ’Stillknocks’ regarding African representation in the UFC. Though he hopes Du Plessis gets through the ‘Reaper’ so he can ‘drag his carcass across South Africa,’ the ‘Last Stylebender’ expects Whittaker to win.  

If Whittaker does, then the fish fry is going to feel familiar for Adesanya, who already holds two wins against the former UFC middleweight champion at UFC 243 and UFC 271, respectively. 

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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