Israel Adesanya believes that Jared Cannonier has made a grave mistake ahead of their UFC Middleweight Championship bout this weekend.
Adesanya joined UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkvanoski to break down all of the upcoming fights at UFC 276, including their own bouts, which feature as the main and co-main event of the PPV fight card. Both title fights and the full main card will only be available to watch on ESPN+ PPV this Saturday night in the United States.
When it was time to discuss Adesanya vs. Blachowicz, the middleweight champion briefly reflected on the motivation issues that he had seemingly experienced in the past — particularly against Jan Blachowicz. Coach Eugene Bareman had previously explained that Adesanya requires a ‘personal’ element to the fight to help inspire him inside the cage. Cannonier may have helped Adesanya find that motivation in the lead-up to this fight.
“I asked for this fight [Cannonier] after the Romero fight, I believe,” Adesanya said. “I tried to set it up. I wanted this fight, and I want this fight because I believe he’s the dark horse of the division. I like the guy, I respect him, blah, blah, blah, but as Jeff knows, when that happens, I tend to not have this certain feeling toward them. So, I’ve put that all aside. It’s when I have a fight with a guy that I like or respect.
“But he’s made the same mistake that Rob [Whittaker] made in the first fight. Rob made some stupid meme and posted it, and I was like, ‘why are you talking shit, you never ever talk shit?’ Now, this guy goes out and starts talking shit about me.”
“I’ve seen these things because my brother or my Dad sends them to me, and I’m like… ‘insert the Michael Jordan meme, and I took that personally…’
“I took that personally… And Michael Jordan, if you watch The Last Dance, he’ll take the smallest thing that someone can say and just multiply it and use it. I used to do that as well, like Rob with that meme, and everyone’s like ‘oh, Izzy is so triggered by a meme.’ The guy showed me his hand early. He showed me he is acting of character. So is he [Cannonier].”
Adesanya had one final message for Cannonier before UFC 276 this Saturday night and wanted to make a statement for the fans who he believes are disrespecting him following his most recent performances.
“Grab your obsidian. Grab your amethyst. Grab whatever rocks you want to grab, your crystal, pray over them, meditate over them, do what you have to do. I don’t want no excuses. When this fight is done, I’m going to show him who easy money is.”
“I know how I’m feeling for this fight. After the last fight, you know how you were talking about with Holloway, and you felt like you had something to prove? I don’t have anything to prove. I beat the other guy twice [Whittaker], but because of the way it ended, people started to talk shit again, kind of the same way they did with Romero. I was like… ‘I’ve given you classics on classics on classics, and this is how you repay me?’ So I’ve got the chips and the dip on my shoulder right now, man.”
Watch Adesanya vs. Cannonier and the full UFC 276 fight card live on
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.