The next move for Israel Adesanya is slowly becoming clearer, with UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz having welcomed a challenge from his middleweight counterpart.
Adesanya and his team have been open about his desire to challenge for the light heavyweight title, with no logical contenders in the middleweight division. On Thursday, the Herald confirmed Adesanya's team are set to action negotiations to make the fight happen.
Those negotiations may have been given a boost today, with Blachowicz announcing his desire to welcome Adesanya to the 94kg division.
"I have heard that Israel Adesanya wants to face me next. No problem, if you are ready to fight in March, let's do this. Prepare for a some [sic] fireworks guys," Blachowicz posted on Twitter.
Poland's Blachowicz claimed the vacant title last month with a second-round TKO victory against American Dominick Reyes - on the same day Adesanya defended his middleweight title against Paulo Costa.
The win completes an impressive resurgence for the 37-year-old power puncher who suffered a lengthy losing streak between 2015 and late 2017 - winning just one of five UFC bouts in that stretch. Since then, he was won eight of nine bouts with only three of those bouts going the distance.
A bout between Blachowicz and Adesanya would keep the Kiwi middleweight champion active over the next six months, with consensus No1 middleweight contender Robert Whittaker not expected to return to action until around April 2021.
Even then, it remains to be seen whether Adesanya would be willing to have a rematch against Whittaker, from whom he won the title in late 2019, given he convincingly beat Whittaker in their previous encounter.
Speaking to the Herald on Thursday, Adesanya's coach Eugene Bareman said it wasn't something that interested them at this point.
"When you look at the landscape at middleweight, there's nothing. We need the next challenge and, for us, that's moving up to 205 and fighting Blachowicz. That's the next biggest challenge in front of us and that's the one we want.
"We have put the feelers out and we're going to action negotiations this week."
In just nine bouts in the UFC, Adesanya has all but cleaned out the division of deserving title contenders, with wins over seven of the division's top 15 fighters.
Should the parties agree on a deal to get the fight over the line, Adesanya would have the opportunity to become the UFC's fifth dual champion.