Kevin Holland Explains His Beef With Israel Adesanya

Kevin Holland has revealed the story behind his beef with Israel Adesanya.

Holland was in action this past Saturday night, October 31 at UFC Vegas 12. He shared the Octagon with Charlie Ontiveros inside the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Holland scored a first-round TKO victory via slam.

After the fight, Holland traded barbs with Adesanya, who was in attendance. Many were confused by the back-and-forth and now we finally know what started it. Speaking to MMAFighting.com‘s Mike Heck, Holland revealed a backstage encounter he had with Adesanya back in 2018.

“I had seen him in the stairwell and I simply said, ‘He’s not that big. And he was like, ‘What the f*ck did he say?’ And it was just the way he responded to it. I was talking to my coach saying, ‘Yo, he’s not that big,’ but I was looking at everybody in the division. They were talking about going back down to 170 but I didn’t think I needed to.

“When I saw him, he had been soaring through the division and we had similar bodies. He’s not that big. He didn’t like it and he kind of charged me up, like I was a freshman and he was a junior. I was the new guy on the team and he can just treat me however.

“My coach had to tell him to go the other way and James Vick had to push me down the stairs. In my eyes, it was like he was trying to punk me. So forever in my eyes, he was trying to punk me. Since then I’ve been like, the guy is good but f*ck him. I don’t believe in being punked. Every time I meet somebody like that, you have two personalities that are brash and that’s what happens. Nothing against the guy, but in my head, my world, we’re in the same weight class as it is, f*ck him.”

Adesanya is the reigning UFC Middleweight Champion. It’s unlikely that he’ll share the Octagon with Kevin Holland anytime soon as Holland isn’t even ranked at 185 pounds. Still, with a record of 20-5 and riding a four-fight winning streak, one can’t rule out Holland potentially climbing the ladder soon.

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