Israel Adesanya is interested in fighting Khamzat Chimaev if he Swede proves he can hang with the best at middleweight.
Adesanya has practically cleared out the middleweight division and the only person left to fight is Jared Cannonier, after that, he has beaten everyone ranked in the top-five except for Sean Strickland. With that, he says he’d be interested in fighting Chimaev in the future.
“I don’t have to take him seriously till I have to take him seriously,” Adesanya said on the “True Geordie Podcast.” “And that’s a guy that definitely, I’d like to fight – if he does what he says he wants to do – because guess what? He will bring in a lot of eyes.”
Although Israel Adesanya would be interested in fighting Khamzat Chimaev, he admits the undefeated prospect hasn’t fought enough top competition at middleweight. He has only beat John Phillips and Gerald Meerschaert so Adesanya believes Chimaev needs to do more at middleweight if they are going to fight.
“He’s on his way, but show me something first,” Adesanya said. “His last fight made me take notice. That was one where I was like, ‘Ooh.’ I know how Jingliang is – he’s good. … There was something he did in that fight – I won’t give it away, but I was like, ‘Hmm, I like that.’ I was really impressed with (what he did). So that’s what made me take notice of him properly.”
“But at the moment, still, it’s just barking in the wind because who’s he fought at 185? Look, he can beat a lot of these guys at 185, a lot of the top guys, from what I’ve heard. But let me see it first and then we’ll start talking before all this hype around him.”
Khamzat Chimaev is expected to return at UFC 273 on April 9 against Gilbert Burns. Should Chimaev win, it’s likely he would get a title shot, and should he win that, perhaps a bout against Adesanya makes sense.