Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is expected to make his next 185-pound title defense against No. 1-ranked division contender Dricus Du Plessis, a five-round showdown that may headline the upcoming UFC 293 pay-per-view (PPV) event, currently scheduled for early September in Sydney, Australia.
That’s across the ditch from Auckland, New Zealand, a talking point Adesanya used when previewing his previous UFC 243 title fight against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. It seems “The Last Stylebender” took exception to “The Reaper” claiming Kiwi status while living, working, and training “Down Under.”
Have a look:
Prior to that, Adesanya claimed he was Chinese with a Chinese heart:
"Take a look at me. What are you thinking? I'm a black man? I come from Africa? Come on, man, please, look at my heart, haven't you seen it yet? Wait a second... *pulls out flag of China* Yes, I am Chinese. I have a Chinese heart." -Israel Adesanya pic.twitter.com/7OOjnTYyGM— Warbringer (@WarbringerMMA) July 11, 2023
Chinese media outlets even celebrated his “Made in China” backstory after racking up multiple wins for WLF in China.
Israel Adesanya speaks about the Chinese promo.— Jimmy Luke (@Joshjoshmma) May 5, 2023
Ngl I Wana see the baby one pic.twitter.com/kSFNHxM7zD
Not everyone was amused.
“I always call him China’s little slut because we have all done things, we’ve all been a whore to somebody,” middleweight contender Sean Strickland recently told Joe Rogan. “We’ve all been friends with somebody we shouldn’t have been friends with. We’ve all been buddies because maybe he could plug me into this or he’d give me a dollar, but that level of being a slut dude, my god. And then later on in life, they called him out for it. He was like, ‘Beause they’re f*cking paying me, that’s why.’ Then that makes you an even bigger whore.”
What does that have to do with Du Plessis?
UFC fans are now labeling Adesanya a “hypocrite” for some of his incendiary comments toward “Stillknocks” after both fighters claimed African heritage. What started as a simple disagreement quickly turned ugly at the UFC 290 event last weekend in Las Vegas, though some of those theatrics may have been designed to build heat for their upcoming PPV fight.
Real or manufactured, don’t expect UFC President Dana White to censor it.