Israel Adesanya is not letting the moment get to him in the lead-up to UFC 281.
The UFC 281 main event is an important title fight between champion Israel Adesanya and the man who defeated him twice in kickboxing, Alex Pereira. Adesanya can see the importance of this fight and he is doing all he can to make sure he is ready on Saturday night. The champ has been rather quiet in the leadup to this bout and along with his coaches and team has not done many interviews. Adesanya is keeping a bit of secrecy about his training camp and is not letting the public eye peek in.
He plans on revealing all after the fight but prior to the event, he sat down with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to discuss why everything has been so hush-hush.
“I want to get the job done and then express why I played the game, the way I play it, and why I said less before this fight,” he said. “And just be really candid because this is the most raw I think I’ve been before a fight. The people I’m talking to, I’m just being honest. I say there’s no need to try and like, you know, it’s never fake. But there’s certain guys, I can just use my energy to f–king intimidate them and just let them know like, you ain’t on this level, I’ll crush you. With certain guys. You can’t with this guy because he’s beat me in the past.”
Israel Adesanya is learning from other fighters’ past mistakes
Adesanya knows that although he is the champ, his opponent may have a leg up. Pereira beat Adesnya twice before and is very dangerous on the feet. Adesanya is taking a look at another fight that he can relate to and learning from the mistakes there. He spoke about Conor McGregor in the lead-up to his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov back in 2018. McGregor was very vocal as he always is in preparation for that fight and lost. Adesanya will not be making that mistake.
“I felt like Conor used the wrong strategy if he had attacked that a little bit differently, leading up to the fight, because Khabib was just very, hum, if he had attacked that a little bit differently, because he was the closest to beating Khabib, as well, I think he even took a round off of him,” he said. “There was a lot of energy wasted I felt leading up to the fight. But that’s just my observation. You know, I’m not in their shoes. (So you didn’t want to waste energy leading up to this one?) It’s stupid. What’s the point? He’s using that all right now. So I’m like, Cool. Keep doing that. Let’s see how that favors you.”
Adesanya is taking this fight seriously. He knows the dangers presented and wants to continue to rule the middleweight division for a long time. He is currently undefeated in the middleweight division throughout his professional career. His last three wins all went to a decision.