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‘The division must continue’

Daniel Cormier isn’t keen on seeing Israel Adesanya back in the octagon anytime soon – let alone in another championship fight with Sean Strickland.

Adesanya (28-5 MMA, 15-5 UFC) was the victim of a huge upset on Saturday when he lost the middleweight title to Strickland (24-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) by unanimous decision at UFC 293, which took place at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena.

It was a lopsided result in Strickland’s favor, and put Adesanya in unprecedented career territory with two losses in his past three. After making a dominant run in the division during his first title reign, Adesanya dropped the title to Alex Pereira in November. He won it back in an immediate rematch in April, but lost it again to Strickland a fight later.

Adesanya has been one of the most active top fighters in UFC history in recent years and it appears the UFC is already planning to reward him with another rematch. UFC president Dana White said after the fight at UFC 293 that he wants to run it back, but UFC Hall of Famer and color commentator Daniel Cormier thinks that’s the wrong thing to do.

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“The last time Izzy lost, all we could talk about was him being next again,” Cormier said after the fight on the UFC 293 pay-per-view broadcast. “I don’t think so this time. I don’t think he should fight for a belt next. I don’t think he should get an automatic rematch. I think the division needs to move a little further.”

While Adesanya has the most name value in the division due to his achievements, he is far from the only worthy contender. Dricus Du Plessis has a case after upsetting Robert Whittaker in July, Jared Cannonier was the backup fighter at UFC 293 and the winner of next month’s UFC 294 bout between Khamzat Chimaev and Paulo Costa will also join the fight.

Cormier said he wants some of those names to get the chance to fight Strickland before Adesanya.

“It’s like a brand new world, right? Like the Little Mermaid – a whole new world,” said Cormier. “Sean Strickland now opens up the possibility for so many new matchups. Cannonier also just weighed in and is coming off a win over Sean Strickland.

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“But I have to imagine Dricus Du Plessis will be the next man up, especially after he was the one who was supposed to be here tonight. Let me tell you, he’s kidding himself in South Africa right now because if there was a time to get Adesanya, tonight was the night. There was a lot going into this fight, and Sean Strickland did what he had to do. But I’m thinking of Du Plessis, unless Khamzat Chimaev completely wipes out Paulo Costa.”

For more information on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s events hub for UFC 293.

The story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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