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Israel Adesanya wants to expose ‘soft b—h’ Sean Strickland: ‘I’ve made a lot of hard men look easy’

The middleweight champion says the Strickland people see in front of the camera is very different from the one he’s witnessed backstage.

UFC 276 Press Conference Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Israel Adesanya returns to action at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia against Sean Strickland. The UFC had to dig down to No. 5 in the middleweight rankings to find Izzy an opponent, but in a new interview he said he was excited to cross Strickland off the list of contenders he needed to beat.

“Yes, people do think I’m going to blow through this guy, rightfully so, because I will,” he told MMA Junkie. “He’s not an easy fight, but I’ll make it look easy. I’ve made a lot of hard men look easy. Easy work, so this’ll be no different.”

There’s heat between Adesanya and Strickland going back to a UFC 276 press conference. Even though they weren’t fighting each other, Strickland took the opportunity to throw a number of barbs Adesanya’s way. We’d call that a solid 10-9 for Sean, but Israel isn’t concerned with the theatrics outside the cage.

“I’m not worried about the press conference, I’m worried about the fight,” he said. “See, he’s worried about the press conference because that’s where he thinks he’s going to shine. Last time he just caught me off guard because I wasn’t expecting to go back and forth with him, and also I hated the fact that he was sitting behind me like a r—ded kid in class. I’m looking forward to the fight because that’s where it counts. Who gives two f—s about a press conference. But I got some bars for him as well.”

“The Last Stylebender” also noted the difference between the Sean Strickland we see in front of cameras and the one he’s witnessed over the years.

“Behind the scenes, when it’s just me and him, I’ve been with him in the locker room, viewing him backstage. Last time I saw him in Vegas I smacked him in the dick,” Adesanya said. “Behind the scenes, and his public persona, people think he’s this guy. ‘He’s crazy, he’s this.’ Behind the scenes he’s soft. I’m soft. I don’t even call him soft, that actually insults soft people. I’ll just say he’s like that idiot in the back of the class that won’t shut up, that just has to talk and talk over you to get his point across.”

“Nothing in particular that he’s said has gotten to me, but just his whole — any time he breathes he just says some idiotic things. I kind of want to show people what happens backstage, I want to show them on the main stage that he’s my b—h.”

“I’m a loud man when I need to be loud,” he added. “But I’m very quiet and I’ll observe and he definitely has his own insecurities and whatnot, ‘Oh, I’m a man, riding my motorcycle with my boots and drink my beer.’ He wants to be that guy with the machismo. I don’t need to prove I’m a man by doing all that kind of s—. I just be me and I’ll still f— you up.”

UFC 293 goes down on September 10th from the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia. Keep it locked to MMA Mania for all the developments surrounding the card.

LIVE! Watch UFC 293 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 293 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPNN/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 293: “Adesanya vs. Strickalnd” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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