Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Israel Adesanya on Robert Whittaker: “I Humbled Him”

UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya doesn’t expect Robert Whittaker to talk trash ahead of UFC 271 having “humbled” him in their UFC 243 contest.

Adesanya completed his undefeated climb to the top of the 185-pound mountain in October 2019. After beating Marvin Vettori, Derek Brunson, and Anderson Silva, and having collected interim gold in a FOTY-worthy clash with Kelvin Gastelum, “The Last Stylebender” had his chance for undisputed glory.

In Whittaker’s own backyard, Adesanya secured his crowning moment. After nearly finishing “The Reaper” in the opening round, the Nigerian-New Zealander completed the feat in the second frame. As well as earning his spot on the middleweight throne, Adesanya also ended the nine-fight, five-year unbeaten run of Whittaker.

Adesanya: “He Can’t Say The Sh*t He Was Saying The First Time”

Now, with their rematch set for UFC 271 this weekend, the main question on everyone’s lips is what will we see different this time around? That includes in terms of pre-fight build, performance, and result.

One thing Adesanya expects to play out differently is the fight week and interview back and forth. While narratives surrounding a personal feud and an Australia vs. New Zealand rivalry were accentuated ahead of their Melbourne clash, a factor Whittaker believes played a part in his loss, the champion expects the now-“humbled” former titleholder to approach the rematch quietly.

“I humbled him to the sense that he can’t say the sh*t he was saying the first time around because he was talking all that sh*t saying this and that. ‘I think Adesanya isn’t as good as he thinks he is.’ I remember that,” Adesanya said in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel. “I’m the elephant in the f*cking room. I never forget. ‘Oh, Israel’s not as good as he thinks he is.’ I’ll show you how great I think I am.”

According to Adesanya, Whittaker’s ego was his downfall in 2019 and will likely contribute to another defeat this Saturday in Houston. While Whittaker says he’s feeling rejuvenated and with a newfound love for the sport of MMA, “The Last Stylebender” isn’t buying it yet.

“I saw a little snippet of what he was saying. It’s like he finds it hard to swallow,” Adesanya added. “It’s a hard pill for him to swallow. He’s admitting it, he’s saying the right things, but he’s not believing it. His ego won’t let him and that’s his downfall. His ego. People tried to say that about me leading to the first fight. ‘Oh, he’s too egotistical. He’s not humble like Whittaker.’ I’m like, bro, stop. I am extraordinarily humble. I know my limits as a human being and my capabilities. So I know I’m the sh*t but at the same time, I know I ain’t sh*t. He needs to check himself. He’s got this newfound mental clarity and it would help him positively if it was true. I just don’t buy into it.” (h/t MMA Fighting)

While Adesanya looks to prove his superiority over Whittaker again, the New Zealand-born Aussie will be targeting redemption and a second reign on the middleweight throne. We’ll find out which party leaves the Toyota Center happy on Saturday night.

Do you expect Israel Adesanya to beat Robert Whittaker for the second time this weekend at UFC 271?

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