Cannonier Reveals UFC Has Offered Him A Fight, But Explains Why He Won't Accept Yet

The landscape of the UFC’s middleweight division was firmly shifted earlier this month, when once-unlikely title challenger Sean Strickland made it all the way to the throne courtesy of a dominant display against Israel Adesanya.

Strickland’s title-winning performance came in the main event of UFC 293, a pay-per-view event held in Sydney, Australia, on September 9. “Tarzan” found himself in the spot opposite Adesanya owing to an injury to Dricus Du Plessis.
Soon after his upset win, which came via unanimous decision at the Qudos Bank Arena, talk quickly turned to Strickland’s reign at 185 pounds and who the first challenger to his rule might be.

Although an immediate rematch for “The Last Stylebender” was discussed in a positive light by UFC CEO Dana White, a host of fighters, fans, and pundits have insisted that isn’t warranted given the manner of defeat and the fact that it marked Adesanya’s second loss in three fights.

With that, two other contenders have attempted to make their case. As well as Du Plessis insisting that his victory over Robert Whittaker should earn him a guaranteed opportunity, Jared Cannonier has emerged as an option.

In addition to weighing in as a backup at UFC 293, “The Killa Gorilla” also recorded a victory over the newly crowned champ just 10 months ago. Those factors even led to Strickland’s coach, Eric Nicksick, backing Cannonier’s claim.
But if the promotion’s matchmaking efforts are a sign of things to come, it appears that the former title challenger is being lined up for something different.

Cannonier Holding Out Until Title Fight Confirmation

During a recent interview with Sportskeeda MMA, Cannonier revealed that the UFC was quick to offer him a non-title fight following the events that unfolded Down Under, and he implied that the matchup would see him fight down the pecking order.

The #4-ranked contender insisted that he won’t wait should the UFC book Strickland’s first defense against someone else, but Cannonier also won’t sign on the dotted line until he knows for certain that a championship opportunity isn’t on the cards.

“Last week, they offered me somebody. My manager called me, relayed the message,” Cannonier said. "I’m not gonna sit on a name for weeks. But this is special circumstances, you know? I’m in a different position right now. I’m not gonna jump on the first fight they hand me, jump on the first bone they throw in the yard, get distracted by the big-ass slab of meat that’s hanging up.

“I’m ranked at the top of the division. There’s a good reason why nobody’s saying my name. There’s people at the back of the pack who want to climb and claw their way to the top… they don’t know what they’re in for,” Cannonier continued. “I ain’t trying to look back at them… If they schedule the title fight tomorrow, then I ain’t gonna be like, ‘I gotta wait until the title fight.’ … But if the title fight ain’t scheduled, I ain’t gonna schedule myself up, tie myself up, and miss this opportunity. If you ain’t gonna tell me what’s up, If I gotta wait and see…”

Although he didn’t reveal the name of the opponent slid across his table, “The Killa Gorilla” was recently the subject of a callout.

Following the unexpected release of middleweight veteran Derek Brunson, the #7-ranked Roman Dolidze has been left without a foe for the upcoming UFC 295 event at Madison Square Garden in November.

The Georgian was quick to begin an opponent hunt on social media, naming Robert Whittaker and Cannonier as potential options.

“Killa Gorilla” already had a title shot and came out with some Curious George performance.

Do we need to see that again?


He holds the most recent win over the champion and was the backup fighter at 293. I’m not a huge fan of cannonier stylistically, but he definitely has a strong case. Maybe he can fight the Paulo/Chimaev winner for the next shot.

1 Like

I like Jared but he and Cyril Gane need to be realistic about expecting more title shots already