Adesanya calls Jones bully, envisions showdown

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Adesanya: Jones 'trying to jump the gun and get me out early' (1:21)

Israel Adesanya says he has more work to do in the middleweight class before challenging Jon Jones, and that Jones calling him out is messed up. (1:21)

Israel Adesanya won UFC's interim middleweight belt on Saturday after an epic back-and-forth battle with Kelvin Gastelum. Jon Jones, however, wasn't impressed.

He took to social media in a series of now-deleted tweets discrediting Adesanya's victory and shooting down any shot the 29-year-old has against him in a potential fight.

"You guys can believe the hype if you want to. I've seen all I had to see," Jones, who some regard as the best MMA fighter ever, wrote on Twitter. "My man had a toe-to-toe kick boxing match with a short, stubby wrestler. There's only one Jon Jones ladies and gentlemen."

Adesanya, appearing on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show on Monday, responded to the comments.

"Jon Jones literally reminds me of what I've hated most in life: bullies," he said. "I don't like bullies. I detest bullies. So he's going to get this work. But not until I am ready to give him this work. I can fight him right now and give him work. But I want to fight him when I know I can f--- him up."

Adesanya (17-0) said Jones (24-1-1) is "trying to jump the gun" on a fight knowing Adesanya is still learning and not yet in his prime. For this fight to occur, Adesanya, a middleweight, would have to go up in weight to fight Jones at light heavyweight.

Jones is scheduled to defend his light heavyweight belt on July 6 against Thiago Santos in the main event of UFC 239.

No matter what, Jones will not be Adesanya's next opponent. The Nigerian, who currently lives in New Zealand, is expected to unify the UFC's middleweight title with current champion Robert Whittaker. The bout, against an Australian, is expected to be one of the biggest sporting events ever in that region of the world and likely will take place in a stadium next fall or winter.

"I've never been one that has stuck to a hard timeline ever to when I can fight. When the tires are on and they are good, I go out there and race," Whittaker told Helwani. "This will be the biggest combat sports event in the Australian/New Zealand market. Mark my words. We can definitely top 55,000. I have that utmost confident that we can top that number."

Adesanya's plan is to fight Whittaker for the belt and defend it against the winner of Jacare Souza vs. Jack Hermansson, which takes place on April 27. Then Jones.

"Let me just beat all the top middleweights in my division, all of the relevant ones, once, and then I'll move up for a superfight with Jon Jones," Adesanya told Helwani. "Right now, he's the best pound-for-pound, right? I'm Player 1. He's the final boss in the game. I still got some people to beat in between."

Anderson Silva weighed in on the Adesanya comments toward Jones, saying he viewed them as disrespectful.

"As far as I'm concerned, he disrespected Jon Jones," Silva said. "Of course, if you look at it with a business perspective, for Dana [White] it's a great deal. It will be a great deal for him, and it doesn't matter if they fight each other or if they don't. I think the crossed a line right there, but he'll learn how to handle these situations through time."