Israel Adesanya has plans of returning to the light heavyweight division on the horizon

At UFC 276, the stage was set for a highly anticipated third fight between rivals Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira.
Just as Pereira fully committed to the mixed martial arts path, speculation about a potential MMA match with UFC middleweight champion Adesanya has risen significantly.

Prior to UFC 276, promotion president Dana White stated that if both men won, he would be very much interested in booking that fight next. To the delight of fight fans worldwide, Adesanya beat Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision whereas ‘Poatan’ scored the biggest victory of his pro-MMA career against Sean Strickland.

Israel Adesanya light heavyweight
Israel Adesanya sporting NFT

Adesanya’s perfect record was shattered when he succumbed to a loss to then-champion Jan Blachowicz from his 205-pound perch in the UFC 259 main event in March 2021. However, ‘The Last Stylebender’ hasn’t given up hopes on chasing the double-champ status as yet.

Speaking at the UFC 281 pre-fight media scrum, Adesanya stated:

“I’ll lap the division again, and then I’ll go back up at some point just for my own, maybe a little bit of ego, but yeah, just because I can do ii. It doesn’t have to be for the belt. Right now, other Paradigm (Sports) guy Jiri’s (Prochazka) got the belt, so let him do his thing. I just like testing myself. Again, there’s heavyweight. I’m not saying I can beat every 205 guy or every f*cking heavyweight, but they’ll have problems with me.”

Israel Adesanya believes Conor McGregor could have beat Khabib Nurmagomedov had he not emptied his gas tank

Throughout their fight week at UFC 229Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov had heated exchanges. Despite showing promising signs in the fight against the undefeated Russian, McGregor was submitted in the fourth round, sparking a mass brawl after the fight was stopped. However, ‘The Notorious’ was able to snatch a round from his Dagestani rival and showed great promise in the first round with his sprawls and defense from the bottom. Israel Adesanya holds the opinion that McGregor could have won the fight if he hadn’t emptied his gas tank.

The way Adesanya sees it, McGregor came closest to defeating the Dagestani lightweight behemoth. ‘The Last Stylebender’ is using this fight as a learning lesson in the upcoming rematch against Alex Pereira at UFC 281.

‘The Last Stylebender’ will face one of the toughest tests of his UFC middleweight reign when he faces Brazilian KO artist Periera this weekend at UFC 281. The buildup to the event has been riveting, given the pair’s ferocious rivalry, which stems from their two kickboxing fights, which the Nigerian lost by decision and then by stoppage in the subsequent fight.

Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Adesanya said:

“The Khabib-Conor fight. I felt like Conor [McGregor] used the wrong strategy. If he had attacked that a little bit differently – because he was the closest to beating Khabib [Nurmagomedov] as well. There was a lot of energy wasted leading up to the fight but that’s just my observation, I’m not in their shoes.”

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