Jared Cannonier has been revealed as the back-up fighter for the main event of UFC 293, which pits Israel Adesanya against Sean Strickland on Saturday.
Adesanya defends the middleweight title against Strickland in Sydney, Australia, in the first defence of the Nigerian-New Zealander’s second reign as champion.
Adesanya, 34, regained the title with a knockout of Alex Pereira in April, five months after losing the gold to his old kickboxing rival via TKO.
Prior to his defeat by Pereira, Adesanya retained the title with a decision win against Cannonier in July. Cannonier, 39, then bounced back with a points victory over fellow American Strickland in December.
Strickland, 32, has since responded with two straight wins, outpointing Nassourdine Imavov in January and stopping Abus Magomedov in July. Meanwhile, Cannonier built on his success against Strickland by defeating Marvin Vettori on points in June.
Cannonier confirmed his role as back-up fighter for the UFC 293 main event in a conversation with MMA Junkie.
“It’s pretty much been more of a diet camp than a fight camp,” he said. “I’ve fought both competitors before, so I’m not really concerning myself with… I don’t want to say I’m not concerning myself with what I’m going to do in there, [but] I’m not necessarily game-planning for one or the other. I’m ready to go in there and fight both of them and win.”
If he is not needed at UFC 293, Cannonier will either eye a No 1 contender’s fight or a title bout anyway.
“I don’t know what’s going to be next for me,” he said. “Personally, I would like either a title fight or a contender’s match. There’s two fighters that could make a good contender’s match with me: Dricus Du Plessis or Robert Whittaker. Hell, even the winner of [Khamzat] Chimaev and [Paulo] Costa.
“I’m ready to fight. I just want to get in there and fight.”
Click here to subscribe to The Independent’s Sport YouTube channel for all the latest sports videos.