Israel Adesanya expresses his gratitude for the recent praise from Jon Jones.
Despite belonging to different weight divisions, Adesanya, the reigning UFC middleweight champion, and Jones, the heavyweight champion, seemed destined for a collision in the past. The two engaged in verbal sparring when Jones held the light heavyweight title, but a fight never materialized.
However, it seems that both fighters have moved on from their previous animosity. In a recent interview with The Sporting News, Jones openly admitted that Adesanya is his favorite fighter. Adesanya initially found it hard to believe when he was informed of the quote but eventually became convinced and appreciated the sentiment.
“Growth is something you have to go through as a human being, as a man especially,” Adesanya said on IMPAULSIVE. “Maturity… I came to the UFC – it’s up to him to admit this, I felt like he was a fan but then he was kind of like, ‘Ah, there’s another coming in this game and just taking the shine.’
“But there’s enough room for us to shine. This is not like a – even I said it about Henry Cejudo when he was talking sh*t about me. I’m not even in your weight class, you’re a munchkin. You don’t have to hate on me for doing what I’m doing. We can be in our own lanes and be great.”
Adesanya said he’s been a longtime fan of Jones, and it was “Bones” who started their beef. But for “The Stylebender,” the hatchet is buried.
“I’ve been a fan of Jon since I saw him at UFC 94,” Adesanya continued. “He fought Stephan Bonnar, rest in peace. I saw what he did in that fight. I was a fan, I think he was as well. Then he mentioned something like, ‘Oh, I’d like to fight Israel.’ Why the f*ck does this guy want to fight me? I’m middleweight.
“But then I responded back and we had beef. For a few years, it was like that then after I fought (Paulo) Costa it went really deep then and that was around the time it could have happened but I don’t know what happened, scheduling, COVID reasons, whatever. I fought Jan (Blachowicz). Yeah. Real recognize real, I’ll put it that way.”