After Robert Whittaker's win over Kelvin Gastelum in Las Vegas earlier this month, all signs pointed to a title rematch against UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
It was Whittaker's third straight win, and his 11th in 12 bouts in the middleweight division, with his only loss being an unsuccessful title defence against Adesanya in October 2019.
However, with Whittaker saying he wants to return around September, Adesanya will instead take on No 3-ranked Marvin Vettori in the octagon on June 13.
Adesanya hasn't fought since his unanimous decision loss to light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in February.
Addressing how his next bout came around on his YouTube channel Freestylebender, the 31-year-old confirmed he was looking to get back in there, regardless of his opponent.
"I wanted to fight Rob. I wanted to fight Rob after I saw him with Kelvin," Adesanya said.
"Marvin said 'I want to go in October', Rob said September. I said 'look, I'm ready to go in June. Whoever wants it, step up', and the Italian stepped up, so kudos to him."
Vettori has been hunting a rematch with Adesanya since their first encounter in 2018 - a split decision win for Adesanya.
While Adesanya controlled the majority of the bout on the feet, however Vettori got the better of the final five minutes, thanks to a couple of takedowns in the round in which he was able to maintain top control for a good chunk of the round.
It was the first fight in Adesanya's mixed martial arts career that he had been taken to the judges' scorecards, and while it looked a clear win for the Kiwi, one judge ruled in favour of Vettori – much to Adesanya's disgust.
It will be the first rematch of Adesanya's MMA career, and he said fellow Nigerian-born champion Kamaru Usman gave a glimpse of what benefits he will have in the rematch in Usman's welterweight title defence against Jorge Masvidal last weekend.
"Kamaru gave them a little taste of when you already know the person; you already have their number. [Vettori] is still holding onto that single leg [takedown]; he's holding onto that loss like he's so proud of it...he's holding onto that loss better than his best wins, so I'm in his head rent-free, camping."
Whittaker has accused Adesanya of trying to coax him into taking a fight, with little time to prepare for it after a hard five rounds against Gastelum, by asking for a date in June.
Adesanya's City Kickboxing teammate and UFC lightweight Dan Hooker explained Whittaker will undoubtedly get a title shot for his next bout, whenever that might be, but if the champion of a division asks for a fight on or around a certain date, the UFC are more than likely going to oblige.
"[Israel] genuinely did not care [who took the fight]," Hooker said. "It was going to be either Marvin or Whittaker. He said 'this is the day, this is when I'm fighting, I want to fight quick, who wants a title shot?'
"Rob's still next, but it's the champion of the division's call. If he wants to turn around and make the fight happen, that's something the UFC can't deny. Israel's going to sell pay-per-views regardless of who he's fighting against, so it's going to be the UFC that wants to see him out there."