Thiago Santos, who is No. 2 in the 205 lb rankings, has two straight losses in the weight class - one fighting for the belt against Jon Jones and the most recent to his fellow-countryman Teixeira.
Speaking to Brazilian website Tatame, The Sledgehammer said that he understands why the promotion booked Adesanya instead of Teixeira for the title fight.
"It's not fair, but it's part of the business. Sportswise, it's obviously not fair. Glover [Teixeira] should be the one fighting for the belt, but from the business perspective, especially in a moment like this, the UFC needs to make money, it needs to sell. And, of course, a fight between two champions is more profitable, so it is understandable," Thiago Santos said according to a translation by Sportskeeda.
The Brazilian light heavyweight fighter also stated that The Last Stylebender is the favorite ahead of current champion Jan Blachowicz because of his physical resources.
"Adesanya is the favorite for his reach and movement, for being lighter and faster, Jan's game doesn't match very well against that. But it's worth saying that Jan has developed a lot, and I'm sure that if he plays the game right, shortening the distance, he can knock Adesanya out," Thiago Santos analyzed.
Thiago Santos envisions a possible title fight after UFC 259
Thiago Santos is ready to enter the Octagon tomorrow night at UFC 259 against No. 4 light heavyweight contender in the UFC rankings, Aleksandar Rakic.
The Brazilian is confident that a victory would justify a second title shot. Even though he puts Glover Teixeira ahead of himself, The Sledgehammer isn't ruling out a possible fight for the division's gold.
"The win will defend my position as No. 2 in the rankings, and it will put me closer to a title shot again. Of course, Glover Teixeira is ahead of me, but we don't know what can happen, even more during the pandemic where anything can happen. I need to do my part, win this fight on Saturday, and then see what could happen," Thiago Santos said.
Whom would you like to see as an eventual first opponent to Israel Adesanya's light heavyweight reign if he manages to capture the belt from Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259? Sound off in the comments.