Israel Adesanya replied to a fans tweet last night, questioning the recent breaking news that he will face Kelvin Gastelum for the UFC Middleweight Interim Championship. The fan simply tweeted ‘INTERIM!?’, with Stylebender shortly replying with ‘I know right…’. It seems that Israel believes he should in fact be competing for the Undisputed strap, and even Gastelum was walking around with a belt on his shoulder just a few weeks ago, calling himself the Champ. Pump the brake fella’s. Whittaker has earned his spot as Champion, any man brave enough to fight Yoel Romero twice has earned my respect. With Rob needing immediate emergency surgery, I think both fighters should be a little more respectful to the current Champ. And bide their time with his return just a few months away.
Israel has racked up 5 consecutive wins in just over a year with the promotion, although to date he has only fought & beat one opponent inside the Top 10 of the Middleweight Division. It seems the UFC, and Dana White in particular who recently labelled Stylebender as ‘The Future’. Want to see Adesanya with a UFC title wrapped around his waist, sooner rather than later. As fans we have seen this push in promotion a tonne of times before, with Francis Ngannou a fine example of this. As we saw him heavily promoted by the UFC in the run up to his Championship bout with Stipe Miocic. Gastelum is riding a two fight win streak, and narrowly missed out on his shot at the title after Whittaker was forced to withdraw last minute due to a serious medical emergency.
Adesanya is still yet to face the top tier of athletes featured in the Middleweight Division. Such as fighters like Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, Chris Weidman, Jacare Souza etc. He has definitely looked impressive over the last year with some excellent performances, but I do feel like he still needs to prove he is capable of competing with high level wrestlers in the UFC before making his claim for the Undisputed UFC belt. Although it seems this Interim title is nothing more than a glorified number one contender fight, and a push to sell more PPV’s. With Rob expecting to return in the summer of this year to face the newly crowned Interim Champion. What will come of Gastelum‘s title shot if he is to lose to Adesanya? He may very possibly lose his opportunity to fight the Undisputed Champion if he is defeated. I for one am looking forward to the eventual unification of the belts in the Middleweight Division later this year.