Israel Adesanya has ruled middleweight for years, but the UFC 293 upset loss to Sean Strickland marked the second time he has lost the belt in his last three fights.
After his loss to Alex Pereira in 2022, Adesanya quickly rebounded with a KO win of his own, to regain his belt last April. His team is confident that they’d win a rematch with Strickland, but should Adesanya get another immediate rematch?
Daniel Cormier says Israel Adesanya shouldn’t get immediate rematch
“The last time Izzy lost, all we could talk about was he should be next again. I don’t think that this time,” the color commentator said during the UFC 293 broadcast. “I don’t think he should fight for a belt next time. I don’t think he should get an automatic rematch. I think the division needs to move on a little bit… Sean Strickland now opens up the possibility for so many fresh matchups.”
On his post-fight analysis video, Cormier followed up and speculated that Adesanya was tired from the grind of 11 straight title fights.
“Adesanya didn’t look as good. I feel like he was tired. And that is why I won’t be politicking for him to get a title fight,” Cormier said on his YouTube channel. “I don’t think that Izzy should fight for the belt next. I think Izzy should take some time. He should rest, let the division shake out a little bit and then come back.
“That constant desire to be up for these level of fights, it’s just too much and nobody can keep that up,” Cormier argued. “You can’t fight the most dangerous, best fighters in the world three times a year, year after year, after year.
“He has lost two of his last three fights. Granted, they’re all title fights. He fought 11 of them in a row. He needs to take a break from this thing, rest in the spoils of his greatness, and then come back when he’s refreshed. Because he looked a little bit behind the eight ball tonight.”
Dana White wants immediate Israel Adesanya vs. Sean Strickland rematch
The UFC President’s initial thoughts go against Cormier’s views on the matter though. While it doesn’t sound as firm as other decisions, White seems to favor booking an immediate rematch for Israel Adesanya.
“No, I think you do the rematch. Absolutely. The rematch is interesting,” Dana White said at the post-fight press conference. “The Pereira fight was such a big fight. You’ve been in there with this guy so many times, and then you overlook Strickland, and you come in — I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to these questions, but Israel does and I’m looking forward to hearing it.”
Who should Sean Strickland fight next?
If not an immediate rematch with Israel Adesanya, who should Sean Strickland’s first title defense be against? The new champion said on the post-fight press conference that he’s fine facing anyone, and won’t pretend that he has much of a choice on who the UFC wants.
Cormier says he’s pretty excited about Strickland opening “a whole new world” like “Little Mermaid,” and named Dricus Du Plessis as a possible first challenger.
“I think Dricus Du Plessis earned his title shot. I think he deserves the opportunity to fight for the belt — he was supposed to be here tonight. Could you imagine Dricus right now kicking himself by not being here to fight Adesanya?” Cormier said.
“The only way he doesn’t get that title fight is if by some way, Khamzat Chimaev just starches Paulo Costa, and the world starts begging that Chimaev gets an opportunity to fight for the belt.”
Cormier also suggested a possible bout with the official UFC 293 back up, as he currently has a win over Sean Strickland.
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