Israel Adesanya has had tremendous success in mixed martial arts, leading several of his former kickboxing opponents to join the sport. Ahead of his UFC 281 title defense against Alex Pereira, one of those former opponents, the middleweight champion shared his thoughts on his past foes following in his footsteps.
During the media day for UFC 281, Adesanya claimed that his opponent would not be in this position if not for him, stating:
“I cleared the middleweight division so I cleared path for him directly to me. I like big fights, big money fights so this is one of those fights and the story behind it as well so without me he wouldn’t be here. There’s no way. He would’ve been exposed a long time ago, but I’ll expose him this weekend.”
He then shared why he believes his past kickboxing opponents are following him to mixed martial arts, adding:
“All these motherf**kers are trying to live off me. They all try to live off my name, my fame, but this is my game and I know how to play this game. I’m the game master in this s**t so I’ll show them when it comes.”
Adesanya will look to avenge two kickboxing losses, including the only knockout of his combat sports career, by defeating Pereira at UFC 281. Pereira will look to become the first middleweight to defeat Adesanya in his mixed martial arts career.
Watch Israel Adesanya’s comments on his former kickboxing opponents below (starting at the 4:40 mark):
Kenny Florian comments on Israel Adesanya’s mentality ahead of UFC 281
Israel Adesanya has appeared to be laser focused ahead of his sixth title defense. Former UFC contender Kenny Florian commented on Adesanya’s mentality as he prepares to face his former kickboxing rival Alex Pereira.
During the latest episode of the Anik & Florian Podcast, the mixed martial analyst stated:
“I’ve seen a seriousness and a respect on the face of Israel Adesanya that I have not seen in a very long time. He’s not trying to clown around, he’s not trying to show off or talk s**t. He has been all business. This has been the most business-like I’ve seen him since maybe his first couple fights in the UFC. He’s taking this with a level of seriousness that is significant.”
Adesanya has lost both of his previous kickboxing fights against Pereira. However, the two have never faced each other in mixed martial arts. His seriousness has been driven by a determination to avenge those losses.
Watch Kenny Florian discuss Israel Adesanya’s mentality below (starting at the 1:14:58 mark):