The Last Stylebender Israel Adesanya fulfilled his destiny when he defeated former champion Robert Whittaker to unify the UFC Middleweight Championship of the world. He was undefeated before the fight and he continued his impressive win-streak.
It's incredible to see just how intelligent Adesanya has been throughout his career. His coach Eugene Bareman deserves a lot of credit for his success. He openly revealed that Adesanya's goal was to be a UFC Champion and an extensive Kickboxing career was a part of that.
For years, the UFC pursued Adesanya for his signature but he waited until he was 100% sure that he was ready to face the very best. In no time, he ran through the UFC Middleweight division and is now the undisputed champion.
Now that he is one of UFC's fastest-rising superstars, many different fights will be made available to him. He is now the target of the entire Middleweight division and here we take a look at 5 opponents he could face following his Middleweight Championship win at UFC 243.
#5. Jon Jones
We're going to get this one out of the way first since it's the match-up that is being talked about the most for some reason. Let's just state right off the bat - we don't like this fight one bit. As Daniel Cormier rightfully said, Adesanya is just a little too small for someone like Jon Jones.
The size difference is quite considerable and Jones could comfortably get the victory over Adesanya. However, Dana White of all people has been very vocal and supportive of this match-up. Adesanya would be quite a small Light Heavyweight and we hope for this sake that the fight doesn't happen.
If it does happen, there will be a whole lot of buzz and interest surrounding it.
#4. Yoel Romero
Despite the fact that Yoel Romero has lost 3 out of his last 4 fights, it in no way reflects his state in MMA and ability to compete. At 42 years old, Romero is still a beast inside the Octagon and will take out most Middleweights that come in front of him.
There has been speculation that UFC protected Israel Adesanya from Romero and all The Soldier of God needs is a couple of big wins to secure a title shot. Adesanya vs Romero seems like a fight that should inevitably happen at some point down the road. It will be a huge test for The Last Stylebender.
#3. Jared Cannonier
Jared Cannonier is the fastest-rising Middleweight behind Israel Adesanya. Following a huge knockout win over Jack Hermansson, Cannonier has jumped the ranks to #5 and is surely just a win away from securing a title shot.
In all likelihood, he'll have to wait it out or have one more major fight before a title shot, but a showdown between Adesanya and Cannonier seems inevitable. Hopefully, he gets another major victory and has a fight against the reigning Middleweight King.
#2. Kelvin Gastelum
Israel Adesanya's 2nd-round KO of Robert Whittaker speaks volumes of how great Kelvin Gastelum is. So far, Gastelum has been Adesanya's biggest adversary and nobody has put him in danger more than Gastelum.
Even though he did lose fair and square, he's just a win away from getting another title shot. Perhaps beating Darren Till decisively will get him there. Moreover, the fight with Adesanya was so good the first time that they can easily market it into a proper main event that would get a lot of PPV buys.
Gastelum is a beast in the Octagon and it shouldn't take him much to get a rematch against The Last Stylebender.
#1. Paulo Costa
It's crystal clear that Paulo Costa is next in line for a UFC Middleweight Championship fight. It will be a rare case of two undefeated UFC fighters going up against each other and the stylistic match-up alone will ensure fireworks inside the Octagon.
Costa is a huge threat to Adesanya and has earned his right to fight for the title following a decisive victory over Yoel Romero. It's the match-up for Adesanya now and the one he wants the most.