Adesanya Looks To Surpass Whittaker’s Expectations
With an interim title fight on the horizon, Israel Adesanya is looking to prove himself to middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
Whittaker has been put on the shelf following a freak hernia prior to UFC 234 in February. Now, Adesanya will face Whittaker’s initial opponent, Kelvin Gastelum.
The current middleweight champion is hopeful that the kickboxer turned mixed martial artist takes the interim belt in Atlanta next month, to prove that Adesanya “isn’t as good as he thinks he is.”
“I don’t think of those comments and it doesn’t affect me in any way,” Adesanya said on Submission Radio. “I mean, when the time comes, when I have the mic in my hand, I’m saying my thing. I’ll say, he thinks I’m not as good as I think I am, I’ll show him I’m greater than I think I am. So, they all can talk, they all have something to say until they’re in front of me, and they get chin checked.”
“A lot of people say they don’t care about the belt, but that’s not true,” Adesanya said of the chance to become interim and then undisputed champion.
“For me, when I say it, I really mean that. But I care about it in a way like I care about my jewelry. It looks really nice, and also what it signifies, as well as being the best in the world. But I’ll tell you what, I’ve known a few fighters in the past who I’ve considered to be the best in the world who’ve never had a belt. And the belt’s not always a good judgment on who the best fighter actually is. So yeah, for me, the belt is more like me living what I’ve dreamed in my head, me actually getting it done. And then it’s like, ‘and new’, Dana puts the belt around your waist, and that moment will be cool. But I won’t feel any different. Rashad Evans said it best. He said, after he won the belt at UFC 92 against Forrest Griffin, after he won the belt he expected to feel different, but he never did. And I already kind of know that about myself. Like, it’s not gonna be any different.”
Transcribed by MMA Fighting