Israel Adesanya has finally broken his silence on his defeat to Sean Strickland.
Adesanya suffered a shock unanimous decision defeat to Strickland in their middleweight title fight at UFC 293 earlier this month.
Strickland not only comprehensively outpointed Adesanya over five rounds (winning four of the five rounds on all three scorecards), but also went on to drop “The Last Stylebender” towards the end of the first stanza.
Adesanya notably kept things brief during the post-fight press conference before handing things off to his coach Eugene Bareman, so we never really got to hear from him.
In a video on his YouTube channel, Adesanya was asked by his brother David how he was feeling following the loss to which he responded:
“Quietly confident,” Adesanya said (via MMA Fighting). “Quietly confident, and that’s after watching the fight. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I see.’”
While he may feel confident now rewatching the fight, his reflection of the actual fight while it was happening paints a different picture.
“How did I feel in there? Like a bad dream,” Adesanya explained. “It wasn’t a nightmare. A nightmare is like, ‘Oh s***, f***.’ A nightmare is like you’re scared. It was just like, you try and hit the guy and it just feels like noodle arms. Just like, what the f***?
“So yeah, I just felt like that — like a bad dream. The feeling I had watching it was completely different, and I called [coach] Eugene [Bareman] right afterward and we talked — and same thing, I’m quietly confident.”
Adesanya went on to add that the fight went by extremely quick and that in the end, Strickland's pressure proved to be the difference.
“I didn’t realize it was the last round,” Adesanya said. “I was like, ‘Is this the last round?’ Because I saw last round and I was like, ‘F***, OK. Vamonos. You need to do something.’ But yeah, it was just the way I felt in that fight wasn’t — bleh. It was just, bleh. But again, it was also just the way he worked. He just never let me get into my rhythm at all.
“I just wasn’t able to get my rhythm because of his pressure. He was right there constantly, and whenever I was setting him up because he’s right there, then his coach would help him, and I’d be like, ‘F***.’ It was just a good game plan from their end. But also, for me, I wasn’t able to adjust on the fly.
“I said it before the fight, I think his guard is just real unique and unorthodox, so I wasn’t able to find my jab. And I’m able to find my jab [always]. I can find the chin. I’m very confident in that, but his guard was just good. It was good. Good defense and good offense, well-rounded game.”
Many are against Adesanya getting an immediate rematch and whether that happens remains to be seen. For now, Adesanya isn't fully set on when he'll fight again, but he does plan on becoming a three-time middleweight champion in the future.
“We’ll see,” Adesanya added. “It’s not over. The story’s still being written.”