When is Israel Adesanya's next fight?

Israel Adesanya teased his UFC return.

Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya / Mark Evans/GettyImages

Former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya may be coming back to the UFC sooner than expected.

After Adesanya lost his title to Sean Strickland in Sept. 2023, he announced he'd be taking a break from the sport for a bit, but didn't fully say he was retiring. At one point he joked he'd come back in 2027.

Now he says he's coming back soon.

“My last few fights, I had four fights in 14 months as a champion in the UFC,” Adesanya said. “I was the most active champion, not fighter, champion, in the league. Life has forced me to take some time off and I will. But you will see me soon. I said 2027 and the retards out there actually thought I meant that, but you’ll see.”

Adesanya was facing some legal trouble after the loss as well, which may have played a part in his departure. In September, Adesanya pleaded guilty to drunk driving in his home country of New Zealand. The incident occurred just days before he lost his title.

"I want to apologize to the community, my family and my team for the decision I made to get behind the wheel after drinking at a dinner," Adesanya said in a statement provided to ESPN. "I am disappointed with my decision to drive, it was wrong. I know that people might follow me and I want them to know I do not think this behavior is acceptable."

There's no word on when "soon" means but UFC 300 could be a good landing spot, perhaps fighting Alex Pereira for his newly obtained light heavyweight title.

“I’m not the type of guy to call people out but there’s a guy that back in the day [who] did some interviews and said I was a guy who was just going to stay in the bar,” Pereira said after he won the 205-pound title. “That motivated me. He rescued me from a bar to be here today. This guy said he just wants to come back and fight in 2027. I think he’s a very talented guy. It’s a waste of talent so I want to rescue him too, to come here and fight.

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