Israel Adesanya detailed his mindset heading into the rematch fight against Alex Pereira.
At UFC 287, ‘The Last Stylebender’ looks to regain the middleweight world champion by taking out Pereira. The world-class strikers met in the Octagon for the first time in November 2022, with ‘Poatan’ securing a shocking fifth-round standing TKO.
Ahead of their rematch, Adesanya joined Ryan Clarke of DC & RC. Clarke asked the former UFC middleweight champion about his takeaways from the UFC 281 main event against Pereira. He had this to say:
“I was dominating, I was winning the fight in every exchange, the standup and the ground. He recovers very well, that’s something I definitely didn’t expect, his recovery. I put the beating on him, I hurt him, I got him tired, but he recovered very well and was able to close the show, so that’s something I can definitely take away from the last fight in the first four rounds.”
Adesanya’s rivalry with Pereira started before they fought in the Octagon. In April 2016, ‘Poatan’ defeated the former UFC middleweight champion by unanimous decision in kickboxing. A year later, the Brazilian won his second fight against ‘The Last Stylebender’ with a third-round KO in kickboxing. After losing for the third time in MMA, the City Kickboxing affiliate looks to silence the doubters on April 8.
Watch the latest episode of DC & RC featuring an interview with Israel Adesanya below:
Israel Adesanya opens up about remaining confident that he can beat Alex Pereira
Israel Adesanya has never lacked confidence throughout his fighting career. With that said, there are concerns about potential doubts he could have after losing against Alex Pereira three times. During the same interview on DC & RC, Adesanya shot down discussions about him lacking confidence heading into UFC 287 by saying:
“I know it. F*ck all the bullsh*t. He and I know. F*ck the fans, the reporters, all that. He and I know exactly what I can do to him. I know what he can do to me. Each time I’ve fought him I’m always winning until I’m not. If it was like say he just beat my a*s from f*cking bell to bell then f*ck it, I’d probably still be this confident, I’d probably still talk sh*t, but that’s not been the case.”
Adesanya continued by saying:
“I’m always beating him, I’m always dominating him until he finds that way to win. That gives me a challenge, I love challenges, that gives me a challenge to rise to the occasion. An example, this weekend, it gives me an opportunity to remind and show people how great I am, and I love being in this position. Not everybody can be in this position and thrive, but I can.”
On April 8, Adesanya’s legacy could be changed forever. Although he’s likely going to be a UFC Hall of Famer regardless, ‘The Last Stylebender’ will always have a blemish on his resume if he can’t beat Pereira. Meanwhile, ‘Poatan’ looks to secure his first title defense as the middleweight champion and establish himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in UFC history.