Israel Adesanya leaves door open for a potential transition to UFC heavyweight

Israel Adesanya has left the door open for a potential transition to heavyweight.

Adesanya, 33, who is the current middleweight champion of the UFC will defend his 185-pound title for the sixth time against Alex Pereira at UFC 281 in November.

He has never competed at the heavyweight division in mixed martial arts.

In order to challenge the then-champion Jan Blachowicz last year, “The Last Stylebender” did step up to light-heavyweight, but he was unsuccessful and suffered his first and only UFC defeat.

The Nigerian-born New Zealander has experience fighting at heavyweight in kickboxing; seven years ago, he took first place in a King in the Ring competition there.

According to Adesanya’s manager, Tim Simpson, he intends to return to light-heavyweight and may possibly make his UFC heavyweight debut after winning the 185-pound category.

“He’s mentioned he wants to go back up to 205,” Simpson told MMA Junkie. “Obviously, the last time he came up short, but I think he would be very comfortable in that division again if that’s what he wants to do.”

“It’s really up to him and Eugene [Bareman, Adesanya’s trainer] on the athletic side. I think he has business he wants to attend to at 185lb, he says he wants to fight everybody of his era in that weight class, which he almost has done.”

“He wants to go down as the greatest of all time in that division, and there’s opportunity to stay there and keep fighting. But the door’s open to light-heavyweight, even heavyweight. He’s had success at heavyweight in kickboxing, too.”

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