While Israel Adesanya was quick to admit he had an “off night” against Jared Cannonier, he still had some words for all the drunk folks who were booing him at the end of his five-round decision win at UFC 276. At the post-fight press conference (watch it here), “The Last Stylebender” broke down his technical, but extremely measured, performance against Cannonier.
“I’ve said this before in the past: on my worst day I can kill the best man,” he said. “I call that ‘suicide.’ So my worst day, my off night — I had an off night, tonight. So Eugene [Bareman] told me, ‘The people that really know you: your teammates, your family. They know you had an off night. And I still f—ked him up.”
Asked when he started to feel something was up, Adesanya said, “It was in the fight when maybe I couldn’t find my power shots, my kicks. The initiators, the jabs, the leg kicks were working, but I was trying to find the power shots. But, he was adjusting well. It wasn’t just me against him. It was his team against my team, which is what I was also looking forward to. So, I told [Cannonier’s coach] John Crouch, like, I was looking forward to that, the battle of the gameplans.”
“He’s a formidable fighter, I called this ages ago. And he showed it tonight.”
As for the boo-birds who rained down jeers on Adesanya following the relatively fireworks-free performance, Adesanya shrugged.
“F—k em. F—k em,” he said. “They’ve all been here since 3 p.m., they’re all drunk. They don’t know what real fighting is or real finesse. Look, I’ve said this: the greats, they all get to this point. I’ve seen it when I was just a fan. Still a fan. Anderson Silva. GSP. I remember fights where I was like ‘That was a fantastic fight’ and people were just booing them. GSP. One of the GOATs. And people would just boo them. And I’m like what the f—k are you guys watching? You dumb f—ks.
“Ali, Mayweather ... the same thing,” he continued. “You get to this point where you’re so great, people just want to see you fall no matter what. And if it’s not a show-out spectacular performance then it’s like ‘Aaaaargh, he’s not even that good.’ But trust, Jared knows I’m a great fighter, and I give him the same credit as well.”
“I fought tonight, I fought my ass off tonight,” he said later. “I didn’t feel like I was chilling or waiting, I was pressing the action, I was going for it. I was touching him up. But like I said, I was critical because I couldn’t get my power stuff going, I couldn’t get the change-ups going. He was a formidable opponent, you can’t sleep on this guy cuz he’ll sleep you. And I’m not going to risk my health, risk my brain. I do that, but I’m not going to do it stupidly just for the entertainment of some grongos, some drunk folks.”
Coming out of UFC 276, the big story is Israel Adesanya’s next challenger, Alex Pereira. Pereira knocked out Sean Strickland in the first round of their fight earlier in the night, earning the Brazilian fighter a title shot. That has a lot of people excited because Pereira holds two wins over Adesanya in kickboxing, one of them a devastating knockout (see it here).
Never a good idea to stand in front of Pereira. Strickland’s ego got the best of him. pic.twitter.com/vSVlcCqVeY— MS (@UFC_Obsessed) July 3, 2022
“That’s the next fight,” Adesanya confirmed. “I saw his fight. It was a good fight. But, Sean Strickland should have focused on his job like I told him to. Soon, how soon? We’ll find out.
“I like the story,” he continued. “Like I said, ‘My life is a movie, my life’s like an anime.’ Whatever. I’m facing a guy who beat me in kickboxing and now he’s still chasing me because he knows I’m still the king and he wants to take that away from me. You guys see what happens when my back’s against the wall, when I really have that pressure — I put pressure on myself, I have pressure put on me as well. So yeah, I look forward to fighting him in the next fight. How soon, we’ll find out. I need a bourbon and a couple of shots and we’ll see how I’m feeling first.”
Adesanya also took the time to congratulate his teammate, Alexander Volkanovski, for his rousing victory over Max Holloway. Volkanovski and Holloway had fought through two close fights already. This third one was a blowout win for “The Great” (watch highlights here).
“Shout out to my guy Alexander Volkanovski,” Adesanya said. “Just inspiring. F—king inspiring. I had a five nil shutout, but his was way way cooler and more impressive. Like I said, I had an off night but he was f—king on. Oooh, and when he’s on he’s on ... But yeah, we’re different. And Alex is f—king different. You guys don’t understand, he inspires me the way he works. When he came over to CKB this camp, I knew the bar was getting raised and he raised the bar.
“F—king beautiful,” he concluded. “Augh, beautiful.”
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