Chris Weidman believes Israel Adesanya would be best served by making his rematch with Alex Pereira feel just like any other fight.
On April 8, ‘The Last Stylebender’ will return to the Octagon five months removed from suffering a fifth-round knockout loss to Alex Pereira, losing his UFC middleweight championship in the process. He’ll attempt to reclaim the crown, but history is certainly not on Adesanya’s side. Former champions attempting to recapture UFC gold in an immediate rematch are just 3-12 in the promotion’s 30-year history, with the three success stories coming from Randy Couture, Deiveson Figueiredo, and Amanda Nunes. Kamaru Usman attempted to become the fourth but fell short in his UFC 286 rematch with Leon Edwards last month.
During his appearance on MMA on SiriusXM, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman shared his thoughts on why former titleholders seem to struggle with regaining UFC gold immediately after a loss.
“I think a big reason why champions suffer trying to get their belt back is because when you’re trying to get your belt back… You’re the top of the world. You’re the world champion. You believe yourself as the champ. Everyone calls you the champ and all of the sudden you lose. People say you suck, that you were never that good to begin with. You just got tons of criticism coming from everywhere and all you want to do is get your belt back. Like a sense of entitlement with that belt. That’s yours and you just need to get back in that ring as fast as possible to prove to everybody you’re the champion.
“You don’t want to do media. You don’t want to talk to anybody about this stuff. You don’t want to explain to them why you lost over and over again and why you think you’re gonna do better this time. Especially Adesanya. He’s lost three times to this dude and now he has to verbally tell you why he thinks he should be able to beat this guy on the fourth try. You know how exhausting that is? How much of a pain in the a** that is?”
"When you're trying to get that belt back, I think it's best to make it like it's another fight."
Ahead of #UFC287, @chrisweidman discusses why fight week media may actually be beneficial to Israel Adesanya. 👀
⬇️ Chris talks ALL THINGS Izzy-Pereira 2 ⬇️https://t.co/BHLzoSHA0f pic.twitter.com/j12dWNiwYu
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) April 3, 2023
Chris Weidman Advises Israel Adesanya to Treat Rematch with Alex Pereira Like Any Other Fight
Chris Weidman believes the key for Israel Adesanya is to embrace the media attention. Treat his rematch with Alex Pereira like any other fight, doing the media engagements and answering those difficult questions as a way to come to terms with the setback he suffered in November.
“All they want to do is get back in there and prove everybody wrong, but when you do that, you hold off the media, you hold off talking. You put this pressure on yourself. The pressure builds and builds. In my opinion, learning from experience, when you’re trying to get that belt back, I think it’s best to make it like it’s just another fight and when it comes to media, which is part of our job, you have to take it head on and you have to answer all those questions. Because the more you talk about it, it’s like therapy. The more you talk about it, the more you deal with the real world, you’re getting it off your chest.”
Having squared off with his Brazilian rival on three separate occasions across two different sports, UFC 287 will likely be the last opportunity for Israel Adesanya to capture that ever-elusive win over Alex Pereira.