If Israel Adesanya manages to defend his UFC middleweight title against Sean Strickland this weekend, his next opponent could be the winner of the fight between Hamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa, rather than the division’s top-ranked Dricus Du Plessis.
“I’m the champion and I pick the fights, not you, Drewcus!” the Nigerian addressed the South African while speaking to reporters in Sydney. “You have to understand this – you can’t sit on the sidelines and expect to get a title shot when it suits you. If it’s up to me, I’ll give the winner of the fight between Chimaev and Costa a chance, not you!”
Two months earlier, Dricus Du Plessis had scored a sensational victory in a challenger fight, knocking out Robert Whittaker in the second round, but lost his title shot to Sean Strickland, citing a leg injury and lack of time to prepare for a championship fight.
As a reminder, a middleweight title fight between Adesanya and Strickland will headline UFC 293 in Sydney on September 9, while Chimaev and Costa will share the octagon on October 21 at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi.