Jon Anik Speaks On Israel Adesanya’s Legacy, Sean Strickland’s First UFC Title Challenger

Anik discusses whether or not Adesanya should get an immediate rematch.

Jon Anik Israel Adesanya
(via Zuffa LLC)

UFC play-by-play ace Jon Anik has weighed in on what the loss to Sean Strickland has done to Israel Adesanya’s legacy.

There have been plenty of takes on the huge upset that concluded UFC 293 on September 9. Adesanya was stifled by Strickland’s forward pressure during their UFC 293 title fight. Anik was on the call for the fight and he, just like most viewers of the bout, were stunned when Strickland scored a knockdown in the opening frame. After the second round, Strickland pretty much took over. Ultimately, Strickland captured the UFC middleweight title via unanimous decision.

Jon Anik On How The Loss Impacts “Izzy’s” Legacy

Anik recently spoke to Mike Heck of MMA Fighting. During the interview, the UFC commentator discussed whether or not Adesanya’s legacy has taken a hit, and if he deserves an immediate title rematch.

“Izzy’s a first ballet guy, of course, as well and I think he is one of the greatest middleweight champions of all time, and I do believe that he can rebuild from this,” Anik said. “But the nature of this singular result is such that this is a big legacy-type setback depending on how he comes out the other side. I don’t know that there are any other ways that you can spin this thing. That’s why I don’t think he deserves an immediate rematch, right? He is not some long reigning champion in this situation. He is a first-time defending champion in this situation.”

Did Israel Adesanya Overlook Sean Strickland?

Anik thinks highly of Strickland’s ability to negate Adesanya’s attack. With that said, he does believe there is some truth to “The Last Stylebender” and his team not being prepared for what Strickland had in store.

“Was he capable of this masterpiece? Yes,” Anik said. “Can he execute like this again? I would think probably, but I do believe that the other side discounted him a little bit and didn’t necessarily understand exactly what he was capable of and he paid the ultimate price.”

Who Should Be Sean Strickland’s First Title Challenger?

There has been much debate over who Sean Strickland’s first middleweight title challenger should be. For Anik, there is only one man truly deserving of the opportunity.

“Things have even opened up for Robert Whittaker, somehow following a loss to Dricus Du Plessis,” Anik said. “Thankfully, our fanbase by and large is rooted in meritocracy, and the UFC is for the most part as well. Dana White understands that Dricus Du Plessis and Merab Dvalishvili are the number one contenders right now, and let us just hope that one of those two guys get the championship opportunity that they so deserve right now. But I think Dricus will probably be the guy.”

Here is MMA Fighting’s full interview with Jon Anik:

Published on September 15, 2023 at 9:07 am
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