The immediate future has become a lot clearer for UFC champion Israel Adesanya and it lies outside the middleweight division.
Adesanya's camp is working on a move up to the light heavyweight division (93kg), and plan to action negotiations for a bout against light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz within the next week.
The Nigerian-born middleweight champion has all but cleared out the middleweight division (84kg), with wins over three of the top five UFC middleweights, and the other two yet to prove themselves worthy of title shots following recent losses.
Adesanya made it clear who he thought was the deserving candidate after his win over previously unbeaten challenger Paulo Costa last month, calling for American Jared Cannonier should he beat former champion Robert Whittaker - who Adesanya won the title from - convincingly.
Cannonier and Whittaker fought at the weekend, with Whittaker putting on a clinic to earn a unanimous decision win.
"It was not the win we were looking for. Israel feels like Cannonier is the next challenge at middleweight for him, unfortunately that didn't happen for us," Adesanya's coach Eugene Bareman told the Herald.
"Israel has no interest in fighting Robert again. Honestly for us, it feels like that Robert fight just happened yesterday. I don't know whether that's because of the magnitude of that event or what, but that honestly seems fresh in our minds.
"In that fight, there was nothing that gave Israel any indication that Robert would be able to do anything different. Israel is disinterested in that fight and it's going to be hard for me and my coaching team, and himself, to pick him up for that fight.
"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."
With Whittaker beating Cannonier, he stands out at the only deserving contender of a shot at the middleweight title. Of his 11 UFC bouts in the division, his only loss came at the hands of Adesanya.
Whittaker told the Herald that after beating Cannonier, the next fight for him is the rematch against Adesanya but said he couldn't speak to when that might happen.
"The most logical next fight for me is that Adesanya fight," Whittaker said.
"That's the next fight for me. I can't speak to what Adesanya's going to get up to – I know he wants to move up – and what his timeline is, so we have to coordinate all of that, but I can't control any of that.
"I'm just going to cruise out for the rest of the year and hopefully we cross paths next year."
While UFC president Dana White has indicated the rematch is a likelihood at some point, Whittaker and wife, Sofia, are expecting a baby boy early in the new year, and he says he'd like to get back to work around April 2021.
The leaves the door wide open for Adesanya to move up and meet Blachowicz early in 2021 and, as Bareman says, a move up right now is the only real option for the unbeaten champion.
"(Dana White) should be able to see what we've seen," Bareman said. "No contender has put their foot forward, so I'm sure he sees the same landscape that we do.
"There are other factors in our favour. Jon Jones held that division up; Jones was, to be honest, lacking stars; lacking dance partners. When Jon Jones left the division, it's kind of left that division in disarray – there's no big star that's catapulting that division into the limelight.
"Israel can do that. Israel can do that with one fight. He can bring all the attention back to the light heavyweight division, he can create a big buzz and he can still have whatever he's created at middleweight. That's the kind of narrative we're going to try to push."