UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has had quite the career so far in mixed martial arts; however, it’s not been all rainbows and butterflies.
‘Stylebender’ is currently preparing for his sixth title defense against his old rival Alex Pereira later this year at UFC 281. On his personal YouTube channel, “FREESTYLEBENDER,” he revealed the lowest point of his MMA career thus far, and spoiler alert, it’s not his only MMA loss.
“That’s actually a good question, lowest point in MMA. It’s not the Jan [Blachowicz] fight surprisingly. Yeah, actually it wasn’t the Jan fight because people expected me like, ‘Oh, he’s gonna be [sad]. No, no, I’m fine, you know like I said, dare be great.’ If I’m being honest, it was the [Yoel] Romero fight,” Adesanya said. Because that was the first time when people were just like, ‘ughhhh boring.’ But he had another fight after me, and he did the same thing. The smart people were like, ‘Israel was right he’s doing the exact same thing’ because he knew if he made a move against me the wrong way I was gonna catch him. Bits of [that fight] rears its head, but I squash it because I’m an adult and I know how to handle it, but after that fight, I was like ‘I was fighting, I was trying to fight, he was just standing there why are you blaming me?”
“That was the first time I felt the fans turned on me in a way. I was like wait, now they’re saying I’m shit? I’m like did you watch the fight before that? The one before, before that? I was like, Yo! But that’s why in the [Paulo] Costa fight I had that chip on my shoulder. I was like, watch this.”
Like I said, the Romero thing was like the worst for me. The narrative and the voices- it was probably the minority but they are the loudest voices and they fuc*ing eat us. So that’s why I went into that Costa fight just free like I’m gonna show you what’s up,” Adesanya added.
The 33-year-old, unfortunately, had the same type of criticism in his most recent title defense against Jared Cannonier, but unlike the aftermath of the Romero fight, the champion knew how to drown out the noise.
“So again like this these last few flights for me, fu*k people. It’s my expectation of myself and I didn’t meet my expectations. But this next flight I’ve been saying since before this last flight, delayed gratification. [This will be] delayed gratification,” Adesanya said.
Adesanya fights Pereira for the third time this November, but this time in MMA. Pereira won the first two fights in kickboxing, brutally knocking out Adesanya in the second fight.
After a lackluster fight at UFC 276, the fight with Pereira at Madison Square Garden will get everyone back on board. UFC president Dana White even says there is no way for this fight to be boring.