Jared Cannonier expects to be UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s toughest test to date.
Cannonier (15-5 MMA, 8-5) is next in line to challenge Adesanya (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC), who’s never lost at 185 pounds. Outside of his thrilling interim title win over Kelvin Gastelum, few have been able to hang with Adesanya standing. However, Cannonier thinks Adesanya will have to change things up when they fight.
“It’s really hard to say right now,” Cannonier said in an interview with Helen Yee. “All I know without giving up too much of my game plan is that it’s going to be very competitive. More competitive than any other fights that he’s had in the octagon. I’m sure it’s going to be the same thing same for me.
“But I’m going to anticipate less, just answering any of the questions that he’s gonna present to me, answering them with ferocity, and I don’t know, any of those pretty words we can add to it, but I feel like he’s going to have to change his approach, that’s for sure. He’s not going to be style-bending in there because I plan on neutralizing his game and imposing minds like I do with any and everybody.”
After defeating Robert Whittaker for a second time at UFC 271 in February, Adesanya turned his attention to Cannonier, someone who’s been on his radar for a while. Cannonier is coming off a second-round knockout of Derek Brunson on the same night Adesanya last competed.
Cannonier has fought across three different weight divisions in the UFC and looks forward to fighting someone who won’t try and wrestle him.
“We are definitely gonna be more than prepared for anything he’s gonna present to us and comparing him to any of my other opponents, he’s definitely the best striker that I’ve come against,” Cannonier said. “But he’s not gonna be the guy who’s gonna try to impose a fight with wrestling.
“He’s not gonna be able to lean on his wrestling more so because most guys when they fight me, they feel the pressure on the feet, so they resort to their wrestling. I don’t think he’s gonna be inclined to do that so for me. It’s gonna be very interesting to fight a fighter who’s not gonna be looking to take me down to gain that advantage in that regard or what they used to think was their advantage, but it’s not.”