Adesanya aims to join UFC’s exclusive “champ champ” club

FILE PHOTO: MMA: UFC 248-Adesanya vs Romero

(Reuters) – Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya could join an elite group at UFC 259 in Las Vegas on Saturday by holding two belts simultaneously in different weight classes, but to do so he will have to overcome the power and size of light-heavyweight incumbent Jan Blachowicz. 

Adesanya will make a considerable step-up in weight from 185 to 205 pounds to take on Poland’s Blachowicz in the main event on Saturday.

In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes puts her featherweight title on the line against Megan Anderson while bantamweight champion Petr Yan defends his belt against Aljamain Sterling. 

    Ireland’s Conor McGregor became the first “champ champ” when he added the lightweight belt to his featherweight crown in 2016. Since then Nunes, Daniel Cormier and Henry Cejudo have all followed in his footsteps, and Nigeria’s Adesanya says he is the next fighter destined for greatness.

    “It’s inevitable. I just have to get used to it. I just have to accept it and not hide from the role that I’m in and not hide from the platform that I’m on,” he told a news conference. 

    “It (the double champions club) is a very elite, exclusive club, and I’m going to be the fifth one to join that club.”    

Widely acknowledged as the greatest female fighter of all time, Brazil’s Nunes is looking to extend an 11-fight winning streak that includes victories in eight straight title fights at bantamweight and featherweight when she meets Anderson.  

“I feel like she’s very dangerous. This is a huge thing in her gameplan, she’s tall and long, I feel that can be a little difficult, to figure that out,” Nunes told reporters. 

“But in the first exchange, if I find my timing and everything, I will finish her,” she added. 

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Toby Davis)

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