Chael Sonnen names two surprise choices as Israel Adesanya’s biggest threats
Chris Weidman and Tyron Woodley would present UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya with his two toughest fights, claims Chael Sonnen.
Adesanya dispatched Paulo Costa with ease at UFC 253 on Saturday night, stopping the previously unbeaten challenger in the second round in Abu Dhabi.
The Last Stylebender extended his MMA record to 20-0 with the dominant victory and, incredibly, takes his UFC record to 9-0 despite only debuting in the organisation in February 2018.
His ascent to the top of the middleweight division has seen other contenders fall by the wayside and there is no clear opponent next in line for Adesanya.
Former champion Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier fight at UFC 254 on 24 October in likely a number one contender’s fight, but Sonnen feels the bigger threats lie elsewhere.
Thinking outside the box, Sonnen has labelled former middleweight champ Weidman and former welterweight champion Woodley as Adesanysa’s toughest potential challengers.
This is despite Woodley losing his last three fights at welterweight and Weidman going 2-4 in his last six at 185lbs.
‘I will tell you the two hardest matchups for Izzy Adesanya right now,’ Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. ‘Chris Weidman and Tyron Woodley.
‘Weidman has always been a matchup issue. Weidman’s a guy that just knows how to come forward, slip, and he can get you down. Adesanya earlier in his career, showed some trouble with that. I fully admit that he has not shown that recently.
‘You can go all the way back to the [Kelvin] Gastelum fight where he was down twice, scrambled to his feet both times, and one time even threw up a triangle attempt. But you could go back to the Marvin Vettori fight, just by example, and you can see where that’s a problem that Chris Weidman would also present.
‘Weidman’s going to get a hold of Izzy and he’s going to drag him down. What happens after that is between those boys, but Weidman’s a problem and so is T-Wood.
‘As silly as that one may sound, I understand that one’s pretty far out there.
‘I’m only sharing for you, because this has to be hypothetical. I would offer for you that there are two guys that can give him big problems. Tyron Woodley, who needs to become a middleweight, and Chris Weidman who is already at middleweight, and I fully admit to you that those guys are not likely to get the chance.
‘I’m just telling you who would give him the most problems.’
Whittaker and Cannonier fight as the co-main event to Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje on 24 October, with the winner most likely to get the next shot at Adesanya.
MORE : Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov Ultimate Fighter pitched and turned down
MORE : Conor McGregor agrees Dustin Poirier fight and slams ‘fat fool’ Daniel Cormier
Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.