Israel Adesanya earned a unanimous decision win over Anderson Silva in the main event of last night’s (Sat., Feb. 9, 2019) UFC 234 pay-per-view (PPV) event, edging out “The Spider” in a wildly-entertaining Middleweight showdown in Melbourne, Australia.
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Afterward, UFC president Dana White confirmed Silva vs Adesanya was for the No. 1 contender spot at 185 pounds, which means “The Last Stylebender” now sits pretty in the front of the pack. When and where Israel competes for his first-ever title fight is a big mystery after Robert Whittaker was forced out of his fight against Kelvin Gastelum due to a hernia.
With “Reaper” out for a minute and Kelvin parading around with the UFC belt, Israel says he is more than willing to wait for his time to come against either man.
“In the long term, I’m the No. 1 contender,” Adesanya said in the post-fight press conference (video replay here) via MMA Fighting. “I’m the guy fighting for the belt. I don’t care. Kelvin or Rob, whoever it is. I’m fighting for the belt. Whoever has the belt, because I see Kelvin walking around with that belt and I don’t know who gave it to him. I’m fighting for the belt next — that’s all I know. I did my job, I showed up to work,” he added.
“I can wait for however long I need to, because I’ve done so much for the company,” Adesanya said. “I’ve played my part. And I’m the No. 1 contender. ‘Jacare’ [Souza] can fight Kelvin. Oh, they already fought already. Get a rematch — I don’t care. I showed up to work, that’s all I know.”
Indeed, All of Israel’s five UFC fights have gone down in the course of a year, which means a break is well-deserved. As far as Gastelum crowning himself the new champion, “The Last Stylebender” isn’t having it.
“This ain’t wrestling, this ain’t high-school wrestling,” Adesanya said. “This is MMA, this is the UFC. So, those rules don’t apply here. But … he has a point. He does have a point. But I think sit it out, fight Rob and then the winner can fight me.”
Furthermore, Israel says Whittaker’s injury and subsequent cancellation of the original main event foiled plans he and Dana had of him going into the cage to face off against the champion.
“That was the plan with me and Dana. So, after Kelvin and Rob would have fought, I said, ‘What happens is, I come back out.’ Not like [Daniel Cormier] and Brock Lesnar on some, I’m gonna push you, some fake WWE shit. I just wanted to stand there. Hopefully, if Rob won just face off for like 30 seconds intensely. I felt like that would have set that place on fire, hyped up the next fight straight away. If he wasn’t too hurt. Because it could have been a war, Kelvin is no joke,” he added.
“That was the plan, but unfortunately variables happen. I was the main event. Those pay-per-view points gotta go somewhere. We’ll see.”
For complete UFC 234: “Silva vs. Adesanya” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.