Israel Adesanya is a wanted man after winning the interim UFC middleweight title against Kelvin Gastelum earlier this month in a wild back-and-forth contest.
First, Jon Jones had plenty to say despite being a champion in the weight class above. UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was also uncharacteristic in his response to Adesanya’s win and words before and after the Gastelum fight.
Now, former UFC middleweight kingpin Chris Weidman is Adesanya’s latest peer to sound off on his skepticism.
The Long Island native believes what it takes to comfortably rip Adesanya’s belt from his grasp.
“He’s a very talented guy, he’s got great standup and now I know that he is super tough after that last fight.
“Before he fought Anderson Silva, he fought Derek Brunson, he fought Silva who is 44 and is known as a standup guy, which is a perfect matchup for him.
“It was a very close fight. At that point people were talking about him like he’s the next best thing, and at that point I just thought he was overrated and he hadn’t been able to prove himself yet. He hasn’t gone against a top wrestler, hadn’t fought guys in the top five.”
While Weidman feels a lot of things fell into place for Adesanya’s ascent to the title picture – including opponents – he feels the Nigeria-born New Zealander would come up short if they were to fight. However, he insists he is a fan of his fellow middleweight.
“I just felt people were getting ahead of themselves. But that was it. I’m a fan of the guy,
“I like watching him fight and I would love to fight him. I think I’m a nightmare matchup for him if you look on paper, just based on the paper with my wrestling and my jiu-jitsu. With my size, I think I will be a real problem for him.”
Weidman hasn’t fought since November in a losing effort to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC 230.