Israel Adesanya will move up in weight, face Jan Blachowicz, says Dana White

Fans who were hopeful of a rematch between former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and current champion Israel Adesanya had their hopes dashed on Saturday, as UFC president Dana White announced following UFC on ESPN+ 39 that the undefeated Adesanya will move up to light heavyweight to take on newly crowned champ Jan Blachowicz.

Robert Whittaker won a unanimous decision against Jared Cannonier at UFC 254, making him the clear top middleweight contender.

However, White cited Whittaker’s own lack of interest in a rematch with Adesanya. “Whittaker comes out and says he doesn’t even want to fight him; craziest [expletive] I’ve ever seen,” said the UFC president.

Adesanya, of course, took the belt from Whittaker a year ago at UFC 249. Each fighter has since notched two wins, with Whittaker beating Darren Till and Jared Cannonier, and Adesanya defending his belt against Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa.

With no clear contenders at middleweight outside of Whittaker, the natural move is for Adesanya to move up in weight.

Blachowicz defeated Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 to take the vacant light heavyweight belt, and in a weight category which is lacking in big names, would be given quite the boost by fighting a known commodity in Israel Adesanya.

White gave no time table for when such a matchup will take place.

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