‘I Don’t Think He’ll Be Able to Defend Two Titles’- Dana White on Israel Adesanya

Published 03/05/2021, 11:04 PM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 02: UFC President Dana White holds the UFC Legacy championship belt during the UFC 235 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


UFC President Dana White spoke to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto ahead of UFC 259 and shared his views on the main event. White weighed in on Israel Adesanya’s move up to light heavyweight in order to attempt to capture a second belt. Adesanya has put on some incredible performances as the middleweight champion and has earned this opportunity.

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Jan Blachowicz captured the vacant light heavyweight title back after dominating Dominick Reyes at UFC 253. He’s 8-1 in his last 9 UFC fights and has proven to fans that he’s the rightful spearhead at 205-pounds. Additionally, he stands to benefit greatly from possibly becoming the first man to defeat Adesanya in MMA.

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Dana White on Israel Adesanya’s rein as dual-champion

White was asked to weigh in on ‘The Last Stylebender’s possible dual-championship run and he was skeptical, to say the least. However, White lauded Adesanya on his ability to remain active and continually chase greatness in the organization.

SHANGHAI, CHINA – JUNE 20: Dana White, UFC President gives a speech during 2019 UFC Performance Institute Panel and UFC Fight Night Shenzhen Press Conference at UFC Performance Institute Shanghai on June 20, 2019 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Yifan Ding/Getty Images)

“That’s tough to do, I don’t think he’ll be able to defend both titles. Listen, the thing I respect and love about Israel and what he’s doing is, he doesn’t want to just be the middleweight champion, defend and do this. He doesn’t want to just be the light heavyweight champion. He wants to be great.”

‘The Last Stylebender’- Chasing greatness

The long-time boss continued on to say that Adesanya is looking to chase his rival, Jon Jones, up to heavyweight. An active and hungry fighter is someone who immediately falls into Dana’s good books, and ‘The Last Stylebender’ certainly fits that bill.

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 13: (L-R) UFC President Dana White places the interim middleweight championship belt on Israel Adesanya after defeating Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision in their interim middleweight championship bout during the UFC 236 event at State Farm Arena on April 13, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

“Jon Jones is looked at as the GOAT in this sport, he wants to move up to heavyweight and wants to beat him too. I love guys who want to do things like that and actually do it. He’s not a guy who is inconsistent, doesn’t fight a lot, always injured, a lot of those things. Israel likes to fight, he likes to fight a lot, and he’s a durable tough kid.”

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Israel Adesanya has his hands full with Blachowicz, and he’ll be fully focused on UFC 259 before considering fighting Jon Jones. However, it’s clear that White favors ‘The Last Stylebender’ and will surely grant him high-profile opportunities. His ceiling will be limitless if he manages to put on a statement finish against the Polish light heavyweight champion.

But then he would have two titles, and White’s words on him defending both belts would take center stage. Do you think Adesanya can defend both belts?

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Darryl Pinto

1450 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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