Thursday, August 18, 2022

Adesanya Won’t Act “Cordial” After Cannonier Made It “Personal”

It appears that relations between UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier have deteriorated just days out from UFC 276.

In this weekend’s International Fight Week headliner, longtime 185-pound king Adesanya will look to add a fifth defense to his lengthy reign, as well as a fresh name to his unblemished résumé in the division.

Adesanya has had a mixed bag when it comes to fight build-ups in the UFC. While the period before his fights with Yoel Romero, which saw the pair break out some dance moves during a face-off, and Robert Whittaker followed a largely respectful path, the same can’t be said for a number of others.

In the Nigerian-New Zealander’s first fight with Whittaker, the pair showed some animosity, which the Australian put down to certain media narratives. Then, in Adesanya’s second and third defenses, the champ’s disdain for both Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori was evident, with the former even receiving some ‘humping’ post-fight.

Although it initially seemed like Adesanya’s upcoming clash with Cannonier would be leading towards the Romero and Whittaker 2 side of things, it appears as if that has changed owing to some of the challenger’s words.

During a recent interview on his own YouTube channel, Adesanya discussed his past interactions with “The Killa Gorilla.” While he described their relationship back then as “cordial,” the middleweight king said that things are a far cry from that leading into their fight.

“(We’ve interacted) a little bit. I can’t remember what fight it was at. I was sitting like, a few rows in front of him,” Adesanya recalled. “We’re cordial, we’re cool. But this fight, I’m not being cordial or cool.”

Pinpointing the moment things turned personal, Adesanya noted that his feelings towards Cannonier flipped when the 38-year-old attempted to change-up by “talking sh*t” online.

“I used to follow him. We exchanged pleasantries online. He responded to a few of my stories. Things changed when he started talking sh*t. I took that personally,” Adesanya said. “I don’t know (why he switched up), man. These people always act different around me. It’s weird. I think it’s just because it’s me, they feel like they have to change what they do.

“Just do what got you to the dance. Same advice I gave to Rob (Whittaker) before the first fight, just do what got you to the dance. Why are you trying to be Mr. funny guy?” Adesanya continued. “For me, this one I’m like, ‘Bet.’ That’s all I needed, and I was like, ‘Cool.’ I’m gonna use him as an example.”

Adesanya is likely referencing an exchange he had with Cannonier on Instagram. In a story, the #2-ranked middleweight contender shared the line, “When you lose the belt it tastes like sh*t,” which was seemingly Jan Blachowicz‘s description of losing the light heavyweight gold to Glover Teixeira last October.

Cannonier tagged Adesanya in the post with the question, “Have you ever tried sh*t?” In response, the champ suggested that his upcoming challenger was “acting out of character” ahead of their Octagon meeting.

Israel Adesanya, Jared Cannonier
Image Credit: FREESTYLEBENDER on YouTube

While tensions are still not exactly boiling over, the added hostility could make for an intriguing press conference and fiery affair come fight night this Saturday.

Who do you think will leave Las Vegas with the middleweight gold, Israel Adesanya or Jared Cannonier?

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