Monday, October 3, 2022

Adesanya Names The Lowest Moment Of His MMA Career

UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya has recalled the lowest moment of his MMA career to date, and it’s not his sole defeat in the sport.

Not many have been as successful inside the Octagon as Adesanya has over the past few years. After five straight wins to announce himself to the UFC fanbase, “The Last Stylebender” had gold wrapped around his waist in the form of an interim title, which he won in a barnburner opposite Kelvin Gastelum.

Since unifying the belt with a memorable knockout of Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in 2019, Adesanya has successfully defended the belt five times, cementing himself as one of the most dominant and long-tenured champions currently reigning on MMA’s biggest stage.

But while he’s maintained a strong grip on the middleweight throne, Adesanya’s professional record hasn’t remained unblemished since he arrived in the UFC, with a pursuit of champ-champ status at light heavyweight resulting in a loss on the scorecards to Jan Blachowicz.

But despite that setback representing his only defeat inside the cage, the Nigerian-New Zealander has named one of his victories as his lowest moment in the sport.

Adesanya: ‘The First Time Fans Turned Against Me…’

During a recent video uploaded to his YouTube channel, teammate Tyson Pedro asked the middleweight king about his lowest moment thus far into his mixed martial arts career.

After dismissing the notion that his loss to Blachowicz should sit top of the list, Adesanya harked back to a bizarre title defense at UFC 248 in March 2020. While Zhang Weili and Joanna Jędrzejczyk delivered one of best title fights in the promotion’s history in the co-main event, “The Last Stylebender” was part of one of the worst in the headliner.

Across five rounds, Adesanya and challenger Yoel Romero fought at an incredibly low pace, with the Cuban wrestler showing the kind of intent that not many would associate with a fighter competing for a world championship.

With much of the blame being placed on his display, Adesanya named his victory over Romero as his lowest moment to date.

“Lowest point in MMA… it’s not the Jan fight, surprisingly,” Adesanya said. “People expected me (to be distraught). Like, nah, I’m fine… If I’m being honest, the Romero fight. That was the first time people were like, ‘Ah, boring!’ And he had another fight after me and he did the same thing. The smart people were like, ‘Israel was right, he’s doing the exact same thing.’ If he made a move against me the wrong way, I was going to catch him. But it still reared its ugly head, but I squash it because I am an adult and I know how to handle it.

“After that fight, I was like, ‘I was fighting, I was trying. He was just standing there. Why are you blaming me?’ That’s why now I’m just like, ‘Whatever.’ That was the first time I kinda felt like, I hate to say it, the fans ‘turn’ on me. I was like, ‘Wait, what? Now they’re saying I’m sh*t. Did you not watch the one before that?’ That’s why in the (Paulo) Costa fight, I had that chip on my shoulder… The Romero thing, that was like, the worst for me.”

Adesanya has been dealing with a similar response since his latest outing. In the UFC 276 main event last month, the Nigerian-New Zealander concluded International Fight Week by outpointing Jared Cannonier.

While “The Killa Gorilla” delivered a somewhat similar challenge to that of Romero in 2020, much of the post-fight reaction surrounded the defensive style of Adesanya.

What did you make of the fan reaction to Israel Adesanya’s title defenses against Yoel Romero and Jared Cannonier?

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