“The Last Stylebender” recently announced that he plans to take an extended break from competition following a disappointing loss to Sean Strickland at UFC 293. Strickland soundly out-struck Adesanya over the course of five rounds, putting an abrupt end to Adesanya’s second reign as UFC middleweight champion.
Reports that Adesanya pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge in New Zealand over an incident that occurred three weeks before UFC 293 raised further questions about Adesanya’s focus. Adesanya said in his announcement that he is not making excuses for the Strickland loss, but made it clear “I’m not going to fight for a long time” after maintaining a hectic schedule for the past few years.
On Sunday, Jones wrote on social media that he fully supports Adesanya’s decision after he himself took a lengthy break from 2020-2023 that saw Jones make a triumphant return this past March at UFC 284 where he claimed a vacant heavyweight title with a dominant submission win over Ciryl Gane.
See Jones’ unedited statement below.
Hey @stylebender I just want to let you know I support your decision to take a break from fighting. Taking those last three years off was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Always put YOU first brother. Protect your heart, protect your mimd & spirit. Proud of you Champ.
Adesanya and Jones feuded for years with both taking shots at each other in interviews and on social media, but recently the two buried the hatchet and even opened up the possibility of training together.
Jones, a three-time light heavyweight champion widely regarded as one of the best fighters in MMA history, speaks from experience when he talks about being rejuvenated after a stint on the sidelines. Following a narrow decision win over Dominick Reyes in February 2020, Jones would not fight for three years, though his time away from the cage wasn’t all positive.
“Bones” was embroiled in a contract dispute with UFC CEO Dana White and the promotion over a rumored bout with Francis Ngannou in 2021, and that same year he was arrested in Las Vegas over a domestic violence incident (a charge of domestic battery was dropped in a subsequent plea deal).
When Adesanya fights again is anybody’s guess, but as far as in-cage results go, he’ll look to replicate Jones’ success when he makes a comeback.