Israel Adesanya won't bulk up for UFC 259 light heavyweight title shot vs. Jan Blachowicz

Israel Adesanya was always going to be the smaller man moving up a division to fight Jan Blachowicz. But the UFC middleweight champion might be even lighter than many expected.

Adesanya told ESPN's Ariel Helwani in an interview that published Tuesday that he is currently walking around at less than 200 pounds and could weigh as little as 193 pounds Friday for weigh-ins. Adesanya is going up a division to fight Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title Saturday in the main event of UFC 259 in Las Vegas.

The light heavyweight limit for title fights is 205 pounds. Adesanya, who is the UFC champ at 185 pounds, is likely to be significantly less than 205, he said. "The Last Stylebender" said he's not doing anything differently than he would for a 185-pound fight, adding that he could make 185 on Friday if he needed to.

"Same flex, baby," Adesanya said. "Same thing. It's just silly to me when people go and decide to add more muscles to their frame that they're not used to over the years working this game."

Adesanya joked that he will not be ordering Uber Eats or desserts this week in Vegas to add pounds. He said he'll work with his usual nutritionist, Jordi Sullivan, like he would for a middleweight fight and might even jump into a hot bath to cut some weight. Adesanya explained it would be good "for my routine, my mind."

On Saturday, Adesanya said he might be about 195 pounds in the Octagon for the bout. Blachowicz is likely to put on weight via hydration and food -- as most fighters do following weigh-ins -- and be well over 205 pounds Saturday. Adesanya could be giving up 20 pounds or more inside the cage. But he said that it doesn't worry him, that he wants to "bring it back to the rawness of martial arts: technique."

"If I fought a guy that was 300 pounds, I could probably still beat him," Adesanya said, adding that Blachowicz won't be heavy enough for the result to be altered. "But there's a problem if he grabs me and decides to pin on me."

Adesanya (20-0) has been the UFC middleweight champion since October 2019. He has two successful title defenses. ESPN has the Nigerian-born New Zealander ranked as the No. 4 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. On Saturday, Adesanya will try to become just the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two different weight classes concurrently.

The idea to move up and challenge Blachowicz now wasn't even his, Adesanya said. He said his team got together and head coach Eugene Bareman told him the plan in the hours after Adesanya knocked out Paulo Costa at UFC 253 last September in Abu Dhabi.

"I am the canvas," Adesanya said. "I have a lot of artists that put a lot of work into me. I have to consider their feelings as well. When Eugene pitched the idea to me, I was like, 'Hmm, you make sense.'

"Listen to my coaches, listen to my team and listen to the money. That's the appeal to me."

Regardless of the outcome Saturday, Adesanya said he wants to drop back down to middleweight next and defend his title. He doesn't want to hold up that division, and the plan, he said, is to stay active this year -- maybe three to four fights inside 2021 if it's possible.

As for a highly anticipated fight with pound-for-pound great Jon Jones, Adesanya said he is hitting the pause button for now. He wanted to fight Jones in the summer of 2021 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. But now Jones is moving to heavyweight and is likely to challenge for that title in his next bout. Plus, there are still some coronavirus-related logistical issues to get sorted out that are out of the UFC's control.

"That fight needs a crowd," Adesanya said of him against Jones. "I can't do that in an empty arena."