City Kickboxing coach Eugene Bareman is looking forward to the challenge of his star pupil attempting to conquer another division.

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is expected to move up in weight to challenge recently crowned light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz in the first quarter of 2021. Blachowicz has made it clear that he won’t compete before March, but Bareman hopes the fight can materialize in February.

Adesanya, who last competed in September on the same card as Blachowicz, is known to make relatively quick turnarounds and doesn’t want to wait too long.

“Look, there’s obviously a pay-per-view in March,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “We want the Jan fight as early as we can. He keeps harping on about March, so at the moment we don’t know which way it’s gonna swing. It’s still in the works.

“(We want) the earliest date in February or anytime in February, given that Israel won’t be back till the end of the December. Because he gets into the country on the 11th of December, but then he’s gotta do a two-week quarantine in a hotel. So, you can add another two weeks to that. You’re basically getting out on Christmas day. So, given he’ll already be super fit because he’s doing a lot of training over there, yeah, February.”

Blachowicz’s hands have been on full display, using his “legendary Polish power” to dispatch of three of his past four opponents, most recently Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 to win the title.

Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC), 31, has knockout power of his own, but doesn’t cut too much weight to make the 185-pound limit and is projected to be at a significant size disadvantage when he faces Blachowicz (27-8 MMA, 10-5 UFC). Despite the weight discrepancy, undefeated Adesanya is confident that his skills will translate well at 205 pounds.

Blachowicz, 37, who at one point in his career had lost four of five, has been underestimated throughout his career, but Bareman expects doubters to creep in on Adesanya’s side too.

“What excites me is just the challenge of a great fighter like Jan,” Bareman said. “The challenge of going up a weight division. Just the whole challenge of trying to take on a task like that, another monumental task that I’m sure there are gonna be a lot of people that are gonna stack the chips against us. But it’s very motivating when you get a challenge like that. It’s very easy to pick myself up and pick my fighter up and pick my team up, because of the enormity and the challenge. Jan’s an absolute monster, but this is what we do: We slay monsters. That’s what we do for a living. That’s what excites me.”

He continued, “(Blachowicz is) the type guy that when you’re watching him fight from a distance, either from 50 meters away or 100 meters away in a stadium or through a television screen, he doesn’t give you a true indication of how good he is. In fact, it probably paints a really unrealistic picture of how good he is. I believe when you get in there with him is when you understand just how explosive he is and how also a little bit awkward he is. Because that’s the key reason he’s able to give a lot of these guys a lot of trouble, and you don’t truly understand that until you get in there. And I think it’s very easy to watch him and underestimate him.”