Israel Adesanya hints at early return from hiatus: ‘You will see me soon’

Israel Adesanya could be back in action sooner than you think.

The two-time UFC middleweight champion has been on a self-imposed hiatus since losing his title to Sean Strickland at UFC 293 this past September, suggesting that he may not compete again until 2027. However, in a recent interview with iFL TV, Adesanya said he was exaggerating and teased an earlier return date.

“Me right now, I’m taking my time,” Adesanya said. “My last few fights, I had four fights in 14 months as a champion in the UFC. That’s unheard of. I was the most active champion, not fighter, champion in the league. So life has forced me to take some time off and I will, but you will see me soon.

“I said 2027 and the r****** out there actually thought I meant that, but you’ll see.”

After winning an interim title in 2019, Adesanya quickly rose to become one of the UFC’s biggest stars, defeating Robert Whittaker in a unification bout and then successfully defending the middleweight championship five consecutive times. He has lost two of his past three fights, splitting a title fight series with longtime rival Alex Pereira, and then suffering an upset loss to Strickland.

Who Adesanya plans to fight should he step into the octagon in 2024 is anybody’s guess, but undefeated contender Khamzat Chimaev has seemingly stepped up to the plate. “The Wolf” made a cryptic Instagram post on Saturday with the first slide featuring an action shot of his recent win over Kamaru Usman and the second slide featuring an image of Adesanya.

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