Ex-UFC Champion Israel Adesanya Says His Loss to Sean Strickland Felt Like a ‘Bad Dream’

Adesanya finally opened up regarding his shocking loss to Strickland at UFC 293 on September 9

Israel Adesanya
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Ex-UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is finally beginning to open up about his lackluster performance against Sean Strickland at UFC 293. 

On September 9, fight fans were ready to call it an early night as ‘The Last Stylebender’ stepped into the Octagon for his latest title defense as a massive 7-to-1 favorite. After five rounds of action, the live crowd in The Land Down Under was left stunned as Strickland’s arm was raised following a dominant performance that had him winning the bout 49-46 across all three scorecards. 

Since the defeat, Adesanya has remained uncharacteristically quiet, even opting to have coach Eugene Bareman field questions on his behalf during the post-fight press conference. A week removed from the matchup, Adesanya has decided to open up, giving fans some insight into his mindset following the loss and explaining just what the hell happened in an interview on his YouTube channel. 

“Like a bad dream,” Adesanya said when asked about how he felt following the defeat. “One of those where you, not even a nightmare. A nightmare is like, ‘Oh sh*t. F*ck.’ A nightmare, you’re scared. I was just like, you try to hit the guy, and it just felt like noodle arms. Like, ‘What the f*ck.’ It just felt like a bad dream.

“Feeling it and watching it were completely different. I called Eugene (Bareman) right after and we talked and the same thing. We’re quietly confident.”

The ‘Stylebender’ was more than willing to give credit where credit was due, complimenting Strickland’s perfectly executed game plan.

“I just wasn’t able to get my rhythm because of his pressure,” Adesanya said. “He was right there constantly. Whenever I was setting him up, because he was right there, his coach would help him out, and I would be like, ‘F*ck.’ Good game plan from them, but also for me, I wasn’t able to adjust on the fly. It was his night. It was his night and yeah, he got it done. I made another dream come true.”

Israel Adesanya Addresses His Future in the UFC

Israel Adesanya’s rather nearly cost him in the opening round as Sean Strickland landed a vicious straight-right that caught ‘Stylebender’ on the button and nearly led to a finish in the first. 

“When I look back at it now, it was just the timing,” Adesanya of the shot that dropped him. “The 1-2 was off-beat and he just caught me in between the rhythm. It was good. It was a nice shot. Clean. And the barrage as well. I was like, ‘Oh sh*t, he’s really pouring it on. He’s really punching me.’ I was literally like, ‘This motherf*cker’s punching me.'”

Since the loss, many within the fight community have seemingly turned on Israel Adesanya with some keyboard warriors suggesting that if they fought that version of him at UFC 293, they’d come out on top too. 

“It’s funny how they say, ‘If I faced that version of Israel…’ You understand who I am,” Adesanya said. “I just find that funny.”

“We’ll see,” Adesanya said on a return. “No, the belt has never mattered to me. How many times have I said it’s just a fancy tiara? The belt is just a nice accessory. I already got belts. I got many belts. I’m going to do it again just for fun, just for fun.”

Watch the full interview below:

Published on September 20, 2023 at 7:20 pm
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