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Israel Adesanya open to following Jon Jones to heavyweight after he vacated UFC title

Israel Adesanya thinks it’s about time Jon Jones committed to moving up to the heavyweight division.

Jones (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) announced on Monday that he’d reached an agreement with the UFC brass to vacate his light heavyweight championship. Jones indicated that negotiations would get underway to see a long-anticipated move up to heavyweight but does not have a debut booked.

Jones to heavyweight has been talked about for years. It’s never fully panned out, but it appears the time soon could arrive. One of the fights he could be leaving behind at 205 pounds, though, is against the middleweight champ Adesanya, who has expressed the desire to move up and fight Jones when the timing is right.

Jones tried multiple times to put the pressure on Adesanya to come up, but “The Last Stylebender” said he’d only do it on his terms. If that means Jones is no longer there, then so be it.

“Look how long it took him to move up to heavyweight,” Adesanya told reporters, including MMA Junkie, during Tuesday’s UFC 253 media call. “Finally. He was expecting me to do it straight away, but I hadn’t defended my belt yet. I’ve defended my belt twice now, I’m going to defend it a few more times and then do what I set out to do. But, yeah, the pot calling the kettle black on his part. Go put some (expletive) muscle on your chopstick legs and go (expletive) fight Francis Ngannou and watch him break you. I hope he doesn’t, though. Maybe he does. Who knows?”

Despite Jones’ move, Adesanya said he’s not taking the matchup off the table. Adesanya has said in the past that fighting at heavyweight is part of his own career path, so it’s possible that’s where he could eventually meet Jones.

“One hundred percent. It doesn’t change my plans,” Adesanya said. “My plan is still going forward as planned. So, yeah, same thing.”

First and foremost, though, Adesanya has the task of defending his 185-pound title against Paulo Costa. They meet in the main event of UFC 253, which takes place Sept. 26 at an unannounced location. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.

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