Adesanya: “I’m The Best In The World”
Just over a year into his UFC career, Israel Adesanya has gone 5-0, including a career defining win over Anderson Silva at UFC 234 in the main event, and now a chance to become the interim middleweight champion.
Kelvin Gastelum, Adesanya’s opponent, has placed doubt on Adesanya deserving a title shot after going the distance with an aging Silva.
“So someone actually on Instagram kinda pointed out to me that everyone keeps saying, ‘Oh, I fought an old Anderson.’ Anderson’s beaten a lot of the guys [Gastelum]’s beaten when they were younger,” Adesanya said at Wednesday’s UFC 236 open workouts. “[Gastelum] fought Belfort when he was old, ‘Jacare’ when he was old, Bisping when he was old, (Nate) Marquardt when he was old, and the list goes on. So I don’t know why people aren’t considering that. Like, these guys that he’s dropping, they’re just literally [covering up] and just getting hit. Anderson’s a different kind of beast, so that’s why getting ready for him I felt was harder physically and also a harder fight to deal with than Kelvin.”
“For me, that wasn’t about fighting Silva. That was about fighting a younger me,” Adesanya said.
“So when I was fighting him, beating him — to the younger me, he was the pinnacle of the sport, so when I beat him, that was like, ‘s**t, I’m the best in the world.’ I already knew it but I had to prove it to myself, so now everything else is easy.”
“I don’t have to do s**t,” Adesanya said of trying to play mind games against Gastelum, who last fought in May 2018 in the co-main event of UFC 224 . “Like, example, (Derek) Brunson, I could smell the fear on him. Kelvin’s not scared, he’s dangerous, and that’s what excites me about him…Mexicans are known for their warrior spirit. He’s got a Mexican style of MMA. So I’m looking to put him on a stake as well.”
Look below for the full card of UFC 236
Main card (PPV at 10 p.m. ET)
Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.
Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
Undercard (ESPN at 8 p.m. ET)
Jalin Turner vs. Matt Frivola
Wilson Reis vs. Alexandre Pantoja
Max Griffin vs. Zelim Imadaev
Boston Salmon vs. Khalid Taha
Undercard (UFC Fight Pass at 6:15 p.m. ET)
Curtis Millender vs. Belal Muhammad
Montel Jackson vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Lauren Mueller vs. Poliana Botelho
Brandon Davis vs. Randy Costa
Initial Report: MMA Fighting