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Israel Adesanya ‘confident’ his next fight will be against UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz

Israel Adesanya will step on the scales Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas.
Israel Adesanya | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Israel Adesanya is less than two months removed from a knockout over Paulo Costa, but the UFC middleweight champion never seems to slow down when it comes to his career inside or outside the octagon.

Lately, the undefeated 31-year-old superstar has been working on a collaboration with the new Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War game alongside Engage fight wear, which comes after he became the first UFC athlete to ink an exclusive deal with Puma.

“This collaboration for me is dope from the highest level cause it’s one of the biggest brands in the field,” Adesanya told MMA Fighting. “Even though Engage kind of stands alone and has done everything grassroots from the ground up. Clawed our way to the top. It’s just the ultimate fusion.

“This is a franchise that’s been around for yonks. Earlier on, I was saying that Call of Duty can see the potential with Engage fight wear and collab with them. I’m proud of Engage that they came from the jungles of Thailand to now collabing with the leading franchises in the world in any industry. It’s pretty cool. I feel honored to be part of this.”

Of course, Adesanya’s fight career isn’t slowing down much either after dispatching Costa in September.

While it appeared for a time that his next appearance would come in early 2021 with his middleweight title going up for grabs, “The Last Stylebender” instead will look to become a two-division UFC champion.

UFC President Dana White recently broke the news that the promotion is planning on Adesanya moving up to 205 pounds to challenge new light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.

Adesanya has long desired an opportunity to challenge for a second UFC title, but he imagined it would come at a later date after clearing out all of the contenders at 185 pounds. After former champion Robert Whittaker defeated Jared Cannonier at UFC 254, the list of foes that Adesanya hadn’t already vanquished shrank by one and that ultimately led to the offer to fight for light heavyweight gold.

“The lay of the land, especially in warfare, is ever changing so you can’t be attached to one idea,” Adesanya explained. “I was attached to the idea that I would fight Jared Cannonier but the lay of the land in warfare is always ever changing.

“So when this opportunity came to me it felt like a lay-up from the universe or an alley-oop from the universe and I have to slam dunk it, which I will.”

In the wake of Adesanya’s title shot at 205 pounds being announced, Glover Teixeira finished Thiago Santos to earn his fourth win in a row overall, which then led to him asking White for the chance to get the first crack at Blachowicz.

Afterwards, the UFC president admitted that Teixeira definitely gave him something to think about following another impressive win, but Adesanya believes he will ultimately win out in the light heavyweight title sweepstakes.

“I’m pretty confident it will be my next opponent,” Adesanya said. “Glover had an amazing fight. He did very well. If I’m being objectively honest, rightly so he calls for a title shot cause he feels like he’s up there in age and this is his second shot.

“But I got there first and I feel like I’ve got the right cards in my hand to make this happen. Not saying he’s not going to get a title shot but I was first in line.”

As far as Blachowicz goes, Adesanya doesn’t seem like he’s going to be losing any sleep over the daunting task ahead of him, but he’ll give credit where credit is due to the new light heavyweight champion.

“I’ve been impressed by his comeback from a losing record in the UFC,” Adesanya said about Blachowicz. “Where most guys would have been cut, to come back and grab the belt in the fashion that he has, I’ve been impressed.”

With the opportunity to potentially add a second UFC title to his resume as well as partnering with the new Call of Duty game, there is seemingly no end to Adesanya’s reach these days.

Adesanya is even learning how to appreciate the moment even if he’s not ready to celebrate until the work is done.

“I never used to when I was younger cause I always looked for the next thing, but now that I’m older I like to stop and smell the roses and be like yo, I really did that,” Adesanya said. “This is just another one of those moments.

“Next, I’m definitely going to be in the [Call of Duty] game. When all this bullsh*t is over, get me over to Activision studios, put me in the [motion capture] suit and I’m definitely going to be in the game.”

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