UFC president Dana White gave some clarity on the future of three divisions Saturday night.
At the UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Silva postfight news conference, White said UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, one of the hottest names in the sport, will be moving up next to go for a second title against light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz. White also said Khabib Nurmagomedov will remain the UFC lightweight champion for the time being, despite his retirement announcement last week after UFC 254.
Regarding Adesanya vs. Blachowicz, White said he met with Adesanya this past week in Las Vegas. The initial plan was to have Adesanya face Robert Whittaker in a rematch. But White said Whittaker said in interviews last week that he didn't want a title fight right now, which White called "the craziest s---" he'd ever heard.
Adesanya wanted to go up to try to become only the eighth fighter to win UFC titles in two different divisions against Blachowicz. Adesanya is coming off a dominant finish of Paulo Costa at UFC 253 on Sept. 26.
"There's no arguing with Israel now," White said.
Meanwhile, Nurmagomedov will still be the UFC lightweight champion for the foreseeable future. White said he spoke with Nurmagomedov earlier in the week and he believes Nurmagomedov, one of the greatest fighters of all time, will come back for one more bout in an effort to go 30-0. Nurmagomedov, White said, still has to discuss it with his mother. A big factor in Nurmagomedov's retirement announcement was that his father and head coach, Abdulmanap, died in July because of complications from COVID-19.
The plan now for the UFC lightweight title and Nurmagomedov is to "give him time," White said.
"He's still the champ," White said. "There's no vacant title or interim title opening."