Israel Adesanya is in Melbourne, Australia, this week preparing for the biggest fight of his life. More than 8,000 miles away in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jon Jones fired off some warning-shot tweets to the budding UFC star.
Jones went on a rant against Adesanya on social media Wednesday, writing that if the two ever fought Jones would "expose" him.
"I can see you're starting to sip your own Kool-Aid, I know how it feels, I've been there before. Only I was around 23," Jones wrote to the 30-year-old Adesanya. "Just don't become delusional kid, [mess] with a beast like me and I will expose you."
Adesanya, the UFC interim middleweight champion, will face undisputed middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in a unification bout Saturday in the main event of UFC 243 at Marvel Stadium. For the past few months, Adesanya has spoken a bit about one day wanting to fight Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion and perhaps the greatest MMA fighter of all time.
"[Jon Jones] is definitely a boss in that game I want to play against," Adesanya told the Mac Life in an interview this week in Melbourne. "Raiders Stadium, in Las Vegas, that's were it's going to happen. I decided in July, when I was in Vegas. ...
"The middleweight division is getting stacked right now. [Paulo] Costa, I got to take care of, and a few others. I'm saying 2021 [for Jones] ... probably early."
Adesanya also critiqued Jones' win over Thiago Santos at UFC 239 in July. Jones won by split decision, but many thought Santos should have earned the victory on the scorecards. Jones, 32, has never truly been beaten in the Octagon. His only defeat came 10 years ago via disqualification. Adesanya said Jones is not the fighter he once was.
"I saw him live," Adesanya said. "When you see someone live, you know. Nah, he's not the same."
In response to that, Jones wrote that he saw Adesanya fight Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 and Adesanya was "almost knocked out on more than one occasion."
"Thiago couldn't even touch my face and he grew up kickboxing," Jones wrote to Adesanya on Twitter. "You only got to see my striking that night and now you're convinced you'll beat me? Let me see you in a wrestling match or a jujitsu tournament, you probably wouldn't even place."
Jones does not yet have his next light heavyweight challenger and is unlikely to fight before the end of the year.