Don’t mock Israel Adesanya’s collection of top-shelf toys.
That’s the message we got from a new interview from Adesanya with The Rock (not the Hollywood movie star, but New Zealand’s largest rock radio station). As disappointing as it is not to hear “The Last Stylebender” and Black Adam talk mental strategy after humbling recent defeats, we did get some interesting thoughts out of this 20-minute appearance.
Adesanya faces Alex Pereira on at UFC 287 on April 8, 2023, in what will be their fourth fight. As you’d expect with guys who have fought that much, there’s a lot of animosity that’s grown between the two. The latest act of disrespect that got under Adesanya’s skin? A reaction video posted by “Poatan” that shows the stony Brazilian kickboxer reacting negatively to Adesanya’s stuffed animal collection.
Seems like Izzy isn’t surprised #andstill pic.twitter.com/AcB5VkEs2o— Alex "Poatan" Pereira (@AlexPereiraUFC) March 20, 2023
“That was weird, bro,” Adesanya said about the reaction video to his reaction video. “You know what’s weird, though? For me, it’s like, I don’t really care. But, one reaction he gave, it panned to like some stuffed animals where he goes, ‘Ah’, and for me I’m like, ‘Who the f—k do you think you are?’
“Like I don’t look at him and go, ‘Why you wearing that f— king face paint and crying on the ground like you’re a tiger?’” Adesanya continued. “I don’t care, that’s what you want to do, that’s what you do. If that gives you power, that gives you power. But, the fact that he looks at me and the way I live my life? I wasn’t even doing nothing about him. I’m living my life and it upsets him.
“That’s very telling, that speaks a lot about him than it does about me,” he said. “That was him showing his hand already, and I like that. I like that. This is some The Last Dance s—. I like holding onto things like that. This I like. I’ll note that. He’ll find out later on.”
The Last Dance is a sports documentary mini-series that focused on Michael Jordan’s 1997-1998 season with the Chicago Bulls. Several moments showed Jordan using small slights delivered by other players or people in the sport to motivate him to even greater performances. “And I took that personally” became a whole meme.
“I’m already motivated to whip this guy’s ass,” Adesanya continued. “But, that was a bit ... One of the things that I learned in therapy was don’t react. Take your time, internalize that emotion and respond. So, for me I internalized that. I was like ‘That’s weird. Why are you so obsessed with me?’”
Adesanya and Pereira will face off for the fourth time in Miami, Fla., at UFC 287. Keep it locked to MMAmania.com for all the news surrounding this massive rematch.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 287 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 287: “Pereira vs. Adesanya 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.