Almost out of nowhere, an unlikely feud between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and newly minted interim middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya has exploded.
While the chatter initially started as the two addressing the likelihood of one day fighting each other, it quickly devolved.
Jones appears now to be done with the squabble after Adesanya blasted him on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show on ESPN on Monday.
“Jon Jones, he literally just reminds me of what I’ve hated most in life, and that’s bullies,” Adesanya said. “I’ve had them through high school, coming up. Literally he’s a jock, he’s a (expletive), and he’s a (expletive). He’s picking the right time. He’s a smart boy. He knows I’m a challenge. Jon Jones likes to look for challenges because there’s a reason. He’s started all this. He’s the one that came out openly and called me out and said, ‘I’d like to fight Israel Adesanya.’
“He knows I’m a threat. But guess what? I’ve said this for so long, if you want to beat me, do it yesterday. I get better every fight. So if he wants to try to take me out early on when he knows I’m only a year in the UFC, and I’m still learning.”
"You sound like you know you can't beat me right now, so if that's the case, keep my name out your mouth and we won't have these problems," Jones responded Monday on Twitter, seemingly throwing the blame back on Adesanya.
When a fan claimed that Adesanya was simply using Jones' name to get into the headlines, Jones admitted that was likely so, and said he would stop responding to "The Last Stylebender."
"I won't even reply to his response. He's [already] shown me his stripes... Ain't ready."
After winning the interim title by defeating Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 on Saturday in Atlanta, Adesanya is next expected to face champion Robert Whittaker to unify their belts. Jones is scheduled to defend the 205-pound title on July 6 in Las Vegas, where he faces Thiago Santos in the UFC 239 main event.