All signs are pointing to Jared Cannonier soon challenging for UFC gold.
On Saturday, Cannonier scored an emphatic second-round knockout of Derek Brunson at UFC 271 in Houston, notching his fifth win in six appearances at 185 pounds and seemingly booking a ticket to face middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Although nothing is certain yet, Cannonier remains optimistic about his future after UFC President Dana White and Adesanya endorsed Cannonier during Saturday’s postfight press conference. Cannonier had on Friday told Adesanya that he needed “fresh meat .”
” The only thing that I have heard was Dana kind of sort of agreeing in his post-fight press conferences,” Cannonier stated Monday on The MMA Hour . He gave me the smile and nod when I was trying to get his attention in the cage. We’ll see what happens.
“Izzy also threw me an alley-oop there, so hopefully that’s enough to have them guys send me that contract. But we’ll see.”
Cannonier noted that he hadn’t received any official information after Saturday’s fight, but that a date for June has been suggested and Cannonier stated that he was “ready for five rounds” if the fight is booked for summer.
Cannonier entered UFC 271 ranked No. 6 at middleweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, and with his win, he’ll vault over No. 4 Derek Brunson in the contenders’ line. No. 9-ranked Sean Strickland was victorious in the UFC Vegas 47 main event earlier this month, and a third fight with Robert Whittaker could also be in the cards for Adesanya. But Cannonier believes he’s done enough to get a title shot.
“He said, “I’m proud of it.” But if they chose Strickland instead of me, it would be a sign to me. It could be my ego thinking, my ego over my shoulder telling me, ‘They’re scared of you. It’s possible they don’t need that heat yet. But, I’m not sure. I can’t really say that for sure. These guys are intelligent.
” Izzy is allowed to choose his fights. He did mention my name during the interview after the fight and also in the press conference. It’s been in development for some time so I believe it will happen. But .”
I have no plans on letting that stop me from being prepared.
“To be honest, it’s the fight that should happen,” he continued. Anyone who mentions Sean Strickland is No. 7 [in the official UFC rankings], who just beat or No. 9 or No. 6 — I don’t know how the number rankings go — but I beat No. 9 in Kelvin Gastelum, don’t nobody give me a title shot after that. Who knows? Like I said, anybody can say if they look at the landscape, the top 10, Cannonier is coming off of a finish, who just beat a streaking opponent, if I was just a fan I would say Cannonier’s next.
“I wouldn’t say give him Vettori, who just lost a title [fight]. And the third rematch with Robert, that’s plausible, it’s likely, but I don’t know.”
Until Cannonier is called, all talk of how Adesanya would fare against him is speculation. “The Last Stylebender” is undefeated at middleweight, and his win over Whittaker was his fourth straight successful title defense.
Cannonier is able to predict how the matchup will go and wants everybody to be aware that he doesn’t rely on just one shot.
“It will be exciting, should that fight happen, to face somebody who isn’t gonna dive for my legs every minute, or feel any pressure, they’re gonna shoot for the legs,” Cannonier stated. “It’s gonna be fun fighting another striker. This fight will allow me to show my true skills. I’m not afraid of being shot at by other men. They can’t match my skill on the feet. So this will be a good opportunity to showcase my true skills as a striker. My opponent is usually the most talented and powerful person I have ever seen. Izzy is the fighter I am, and the kind of fighter and striker he has, so I believe it will bring out the best in me.
“Not only that, I have to be good everywhere. I’m gonna give him looks everywhere. I’m good everywhere, so wherever the fight goes, I know one thing if he ends up on the bottom it may not last too long. So I may end up taking that to him in this fight. While I don’t intend to shoot for his hips in this fight, we will be fighting, throwing some punches towards his face and at his body. I am certain I will kick his legs from under him. He’s gonna do the same. But it’s gonna be a good fight, that’s for sure. This is all I have to say .”