Israel Adesanya was dazzling in his title defense and Jan Blachowicz established himself as the new light heavyweight champion as the main and co-main events of UFC 253 both ended in dramatic fashion.
While Adesanya and Blachowicz will undoubtedly enjoy their victories with a well-deserved post-fight celebration, it didn’t take long for the topic of their next fight to come up on Saturday night.
In fact, it was Adesanya himself who called the top contender in the middleweight division. He immediately turned his attention to Jared Cannonier, who has been on his radar for a year.
Cannonier is currently preparing for a showdown with former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 in October. If he is victorious, Cannonier should expect his next fight to come against Adesanya with the middleweight title up for grabs.
“It’s the fight if Cannonier wins,” UFC President Dana White confirmed at the UFC 253 post-fight press conference. “And I like that about Israel. He’s ready for who’s next, who else thinks he can beat me. The kid is an absolute stallion.
Adesanya will no doubt be keeping a close eye on Cannonier’s fight in a few weeks to see if his next opponent is secure or not.
Things are not so clear at light heavyweights, but only a few options make sense for Blachowicz after he sent Dominick Reyes impressively to claim the vacant title.
The Polish veteran made it clear just after the belt was wrapped around his waist that he would like to consolidate his champion status by taking on Jon Jones, who left the belt recently with the intention of moving to the weight division heavy.
Jones even went so far as to suggest on Twitter that he might be able to get back to 205 pounds now that a challenger like Blachowicz exists for him, but obviously nothing is set in stone at this point.
The other fight that could determine the next light heavyweight title contender is on November 7 when Thiago Santos takes on Glover Teixeira.
White has confirmed that the winner of this fight will earn the next chance at the new 205-pound champion unless Jones really decides he wants to return to his old playground.
“These are the guys fighting for the next shot,” White said of Santos against Teixeira. “But obviously, if Jon Jones wanted this fight, we wouldn’t deny Jon Jones this opportunity.”