At the UFC on ESPN+ 39 post-fight news conference Saturday, the UFC president said Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) will move to 205 pounds to fight Blachowicz (26-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC), the light heavyweight champion.
White attributed his willingness to book a fight between two of his champions to the former UFC middleweight champion Whittaker’s recent lack of interest in rematching Adesanya.
“Listen, when the fight was over on ‘Fight Island,’ the last fight (at UFC 254), I was like, ‘I’m going to have to sit down with this kid (Adesanya) and convince him on why he needs to fight Whittaker,’” White said. “Whittaker comes out and says he doesn’t want to fight him – craziest (expletive) I’ve ever seen. Yeah, there’s no arguing with Israel now. I thought Whittaker deserved the shot and Whittaker doesn’t want it, so yeah, we’ll let him do it.”
White did not reveal a timeline or location for the matchup.
Adesanya, 31, knocked out Whittaker to earn the undisputed middleweight title in October 2019. At UFC 248 in March, Adesanya defeated Yoel Romero by unanimous decision. At UFC 253 in September, Adesanya successfully defended his strap for the second time when he finished Paulo Costa with strikes.
Blachowicz, 37, earned the then-vacant light heavyweight championship at UFC 253 when he finished Dominick Reyes with strikes in Round 2. The victory was Blachowicz’s fourth win in as many fights and his third finish in that stretch.
UFC on ESPN+ 39 took place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streamed on ESPN+.