Israel Adesanya wasted little time in his UFC career establishing complete control of the middleweight division. Now, the middleweight champion will attempt to achieve another incredible feat as Adesanya moves to the light heavyweight division to battle for a second world title against 205-pound champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 on March 6. UFC president Dana White confirmed the news to ESPN on Wednesday night.
Adesanya made his UFC debut in February 2018 and captured the interim middleweight title in April 2019, outlasting Kelvin Gastelum in a war that advanced Adesanya to 6-0 in slightly more than a year. A knockout win over division champion Robert Whittaker followed to unify the belts. Adesanya has since defended the title twice -- wins over Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa -- while also continuing a budding social media-driven rivalry with longtime light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.
Before Adesanya could make good on his talk of fighting Jones, the long-reigning champion vacated the light heavyweight title in preparation of a move of his own to heavyweight.
With the light heavyweight division wide open to crown a new champ, Blachowicz faced off with Dominick Reyes, who had almost dethroned Jones this past February, for the then-vacant title. Blachowicz scored a brutal knockout victory to win the championship and establish himself as the new ruler of the division. Blachowicz has followed up his victory by calling for Jones to return to the division he has dominated for the better part of the last decade.
With most of Adesanya's top rivals already defeated and no one emerging a clear top challenger for Blachowicz's title, the fight makes sense. It also opens up the possibility of a massive fight between the winner and Jones, should "Bones" decide to not pursue his planned move to heavyweight.
The location for UFC 259 has not yet been confirmed, and likely depends on the status of the global COVID-19 pandemic. All recent UFC pay-per-view events have been held either on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi or in the UFC APEX in Las Vegas.