Could surging middleweight prospect Israel Adesanya be the next big thing in the UFC?
Former UFC 185-pound champion Michael Bisping isn’t so sure. Speaking on a recent episode of his Believe You Me podcast, ‘The Count’ hailed Adesanya as a ‘great’ fighter but isn’t sure if ‘The Last Stylebender’ is championship material. At least not yet.
“I like Israel Adesanya but I’ll tell you something, if there’s one person if you asked me who I want to fight right now, it would be Israel,” Bisping said, per MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew. “When I look at him – listen, he’s good, he’s great, but I’m sorry, I’m not buying it. I’m not saying I’m not impressed. I’m on the hype train. He’s good, he’s beating people. He’s beating the Marvin Vettoris of the world. He had a good win against Derek Brunson but Derek Brunson looked like sh*t. He was terrified.”
Bisping, who announced his retirement from MMA earlier this year, thinks he is a bad stylistic matchup for Adesanya, claiming that he’d have ‘an easy time’ with the 29-year-old if the two ever came face-to-face in the Octagon.
“I think I would have an easy time with him. Just saying, just throwing it out there.”
Adesanya will look showcase his true potential against ageing legend Anderon Silva, who he takes on in the co-main event of next year’s highly anticipated UFC 234 pay-per-view.
Bisping, 39, think it’s a ‘tricky’ matchup for Adesanya and isn’t sure if a win will do much to improve his stock.
“He fought Derek Brunson and I thought Derek Brunson was going to give him a hard time but he made easy work of him,” Bisping concluded. “But Derek Brunson looked like sh*t. So now he’s fighting Anderson Silva and if he beats him – and it’s not fair to Israel – people will say, ‘Yeah, but he beat a 43-year-old Anderson Silva.’ It is a tricky one and it’s kind of a lose-lose because if beats him, he’ll get that, and if he loses, he got beat by a 43-year-old Anderson Silva. Fact of the matter is, he deserves the hype. He’s very exciting, he looks good, he fights with an exciting style, he’s entertaining on the microphone, inside the cage, outside I’m on the hype train, I think he’s great. I’m only saying I want to fight him from a competitive standpoint.”
UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum takes place next year, February 10 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.