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Dana White eyes Jared Cannonier as No. 1 contender for UFC middleweight title – MMA Root

Dana White eyes Jared Cannonier as No. 1 contender for UFC middleweight title

The path is clear for Jared Cannonier.

Cannonier took a key win on Saturday at UFC 271 in Houston, knocking out Derek Brunson in the second round and seemingly cementing his No. 1 contender spot at 185 pounds. After that, Cannonier directly addressed UFC President Dana White, who was sitting by the cage, and called for a fight for the middleweight title, which Israel Adesanya would retain at the end of the night.

White was delighted with Cannonier’s performance and agreed that he was probably next in line to fight Adesanya.

“I was excited to see this fight to see how it would develop,” White said at the post-fight evening press conference. “It was an amazing fight and yes, I’m not going to say no to Cannonier.”

Cannonier has improved to 5-1 since moving up to middleweight after making his UFC heavyweight debut in 2015. Four of his wins during this stretch were by knockout/technical knockout, and his only loss was at the hands of Robert Whittaker. , who lost a rematch with Adesanya in the main event of UFC 271.

Now that Whittaker is down 2-0 in his series with Adesanya, it would seem that Cannonier is the last remaining contender.

White was also asked what he thought of Adesanya, who recorded his fourth successful title defense in a row, defeating Whittaker via unanimous decision. The “Last Style Bender” signed a lucrative new contract with the UFC ahead of UFC 271, and White seems to think he’s worth every penny.

“He’s a champion,” White said. “He keeps winning and that’s the way it is. The more you win, the more you make, the more you earn.”

Adesanya suggested in the post-fight press conference that he might be ready to fight again in June, which was music to White’s ears, even if he couldn’t tell exactly when Adesanya’s next fight would be.

“I don’t know,” White said. “Look, that’s another thing I like about this guy, he wants to fight all the time. So let’s see what happens.”

Aside from potentially fending off a new challenger in Cannonier, Adesanya’s next move could be to open the UFC’s doors to the African continent. Adesanya proudly represents both his native Nigeria and his home country New Zealand when he competes in the octagon.

White said his first priority is booking a UFC card in England, but Africa remains a dream destination for him and his promotion.

“[Africa is] as big as anywhere we want to go,” White said. “It’s been two and a half years now, we’ve been to Vegas, California, New York, Texas, Arizona and Florida ten times. So there are a lot of places to go and a lot of things to do, but yes, Africa is very important to me. I definitely want to do Africa. … When I look back on my career, I definitely want to fight in Africa.”