UFC 293’s press conference just went down from inside Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, featuring some sharp back-and-forths between Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, and unlikely challenger, Sean Strickland, leading up to their first face-off.
The most heated moment of the presser wasn’t between Adesanya and Strickland, but between Adesanya and Flyweight fighter, Manel Kape. You can check that out here, but for now we’re concentrating on all the trash talk between the main event fighters. Both Adesanya and Strickland received solid pops from the Sydney audience in attendance, and the crowd roared its approval when the two got into it.
At first, it seemed like “The Last Stylebender” might grey rock all of Strickland’s insults.
“Come on Izzy, give me something,” Strickland yelled early on after Adesanya refused to engage with him. “What the f—?”
“When you argue with a fool, those who are watching can’t tell who’s who,” Adesanya replied calmly.
“You know what, the moment I post a video of me jerking off my dog, that will put some credibility to that,” Strickland replied. “F—ing puppy porn, man? I had to double check that s— just to make sure it was legit. And it was legit! I followed Izzy for a quick second just to check. It was real!”
Adesanya ignored the references to a strange video he uploaded years ago where he briefly touches his dog’s genitals. Instead, he focused on his record of powerful Australian performances.
“Last time I did a cool dance and I knocked [Robert Whittaker] out,” he said. “This time I’m gonna knock [Sean Strickland] out and do another cool dance.”
“He’s gonna hold up a Chinese flag and swear allegiance to CCP,” Strickland replied. “Grow a pair of nuts and grow a spine, represent your country when you fight.”
“Talking about a sellout, when did you sign to Monster Energy?” Adesanya said. “When did you sell your soul? Isn’t it funny that every time I fight someone, Monster signs them immediately and becomes a fan of them. You know why? Because I didn’t sell out. I didn’t sell my soul. What did you have to do to that pig-headed f—, huh?”
Adesanya was referring to Monster Energy employee, Hans Molenkamp, who has been accused in the past of pushing fighters to do demeaning things in exchange for sponsorship money. We doubt Strickland had to sell his soul — a plush Monster Energy sponsorship is just the kind of sweet back-end deal UFC cooks into some contracts when a fighter is, say, accepting a title bout on less than two months notice.
“Let’s talk about when Dricus won,” Strickland fired back. “Izzy is on a world stage, and he goes into the cage to call out Dricus and he race baits him. Like that’s your message, you race bait him? And not only that, he wears a shirt to s— on his ex-girlfriend. This is the kind of champ we have, and it’s a goddamn shame.”
“You’re a neo-nazi, what are you talking about?” Adesanya asked, referring to Strickland’s self-admitted past.
“Let me stand up for this: when I was younger, I went through some traumatic s— as we all do,” Strickland said. “From seventh grade, when I learned my lesson. And as a f—ing man, as a man, I am a better man than before. I live a good life, I do good things. I’m not jerking my dog off, swearing allegiance to China, s—ing on my ex-girlfriend. So, again, people can change, I have f—ing repented. Goddamn, I am proud of who the f— I am. Are you proud of who you are?”
Adesanya refused to get too heated over any of Strickland’s attacks.
“Hey, I’m a Chinese champion, I’m a South African champion, a Brazilian champion, a New Zealand champion,” he said. “That’s what’s called being a world champion, and that is never going to go away. That’s a world championship.”
Remember that MMAmania.com 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.