Israel Adesanya knows who he’s rooting for at UFC 290 in three weeks (Sat., July 8, 2023).
UFC’s 2023 International Fight Week will be capped off by a big pay-per-view event, featuring several notable match ups. A Middleweight contender bout between Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis on the night will determine Adesanya’s next title challenger.
Since reclaiming his title in April 2023, Adesanya has targeted a fight with South Africa’s Du Plessis after the rising contender’s comments about African champions in UFC. Both have gone back and forth about the clarity of each’s statements, but instead of just pitting the two against each other, Du Plessis needs to get through the tough former champion from Australia, who Adesanya first won the title from in Oct. 2019.
“I’m going to manifest [Du Plessis] winning this fight in the first round, and when he does, I’m going to be right there in the cage so he can turn around in September,” Adesanya told The MMA Hour. “No bulls—t, no ‘I’m hurt,’ this and that, nope. We’re going to fight in Sydney in September. Because Rob is Rob, whatever, I’ve already got a plan for Rob if it’s Rob. But I really, really, really hope it’s ‘DDP,’ because I will show him who the f—k I am.
“I’ll say this again,” Adesanya said. “I never questioned his ethnicity. I never said he’s not African, even though colonization — we don’t want to go over all that stuff. He is in Africa, he was born in South Africa, and I never questioned that. But the fact that he was being a d—khead, ‘We know who the real African is, I breathe African air,’ all that kind of stuff — how the f—k are you going to question me, Francis [Ngannou], and Kamaru [Usman’s] blackness or African-ness? Who the f—k are you? So I had to put that out there. I want to educate him.
“I’ll tell you one thing: You ever heard of ‘Ancestry and Me?’” he continued. “[sic] If you do ‘Ancestry and Me’ [sic] on me, I know where the f—k I’m from. If you do it on him, he’ll find out where the f—k he’s from — and I’ll tell you, it won’t say South Africa. … It will tell you where the f—k he’s from, he’ll know his real heritage. I know who the f—k I am and I stand on that no matter where in the world I am. You can take the boy out of Africa, but you can never take Africa out of the man. I know that and I never questioned him as an African, so who the f—k is he to question me as an African?”
UFC is set to return to Australia on Sept. 10, 2023, for UFC 293. The hope is that the winner of Whittaker vs. Du Plessis will be healthy enough to turn around for a showdown with Adesanya.
Currently a decent-sized underdog, Du Plessis hasn’t been wavered by his situation and according to the champion, each has already felt what they’re capable of.
“Funny enough, we’ve trained together before,” Adesanya said. “I whooped his ass. He just wrestle-f—ked me in the first round. … He was nice, he was a cool kid. Even in the UFC, when he came to the UFC, I was actually supportive. I was like, ‘Another African in the UFC,’ I swear you can find this online on my YouTube, ‘Another African in the UFC, this is cool.’ So the fact that he came out and started to be braggadocious and question me, I was like, ‘Who the f—k is this c—t?’ So when this happens, I’m going to torture him.
“It’s going to be first round, Dricus, f—k him (Whittaker) up, somehow, by some magic, some juju,” he concluded. “We’ll make it happen. It’s a hard ask, but again, Player 1, you can make things happen. Really, I’ll pray on this and make it happen.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 290 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+/ABC at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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