Just days from the biggest test of his career, Israel Adesanya is already thinking ahead and while most don’t like to overlook their next opponent, the New Zealand based fighter looks at it differently… so as not to become complacent.
“Everyone worries about this [belt] and they have clocked the game and say oh what now? That’s not the goal. He’s [Whittaker] not even the goal. It’s like a video game where you fight the boss. He’s just one boss on the way that I have to beat,” Israel said in an interview with TheMacLife.
Asked about the ‘next boss’ possibly being Jon Jones, Adesanya responded, “He’s definitely a boss in the game that I want to play against.”
“Raiders stadium, Las Vegas. That’s where it’s going to happen. I decided in July when I was in Vegas. Probably – with the middleweight division getting stacked, I like Cannonier right now. Costa, I ‘ve got to take care of and a few others. I’m saying 2021. Probably early,” he said confidently.
Asked if he believed that Jones, the light-heavyweight king, was still the same fighter he once was, Adesanya didn’t hesitate to answer.
“Nah, I saw him live, when you see someone live you know. Nah, no, he’s not the same.”
While people may think he’s looking past Whittaker, Adesanya believes that he’s done the work to be confident in his ability.
“I did all the right things. Fought a lot. Said what I wanted to say. Didn’t humble myself and downplay my skills. I spoke my truth and a lot of people can’t do that. They aren’t confident enough.”
Adesanya credits his success to this mentality and believes it has caused a lot of other fighters to become jealous of his meteoric rise.
“Not many people could have done what I’ve done. That’s why you see a lot of green-eyed monsters in the UFC looking at me because I jumped in and out of nowhere, I just blew up,” he said.
Following his win against Kelvin Gastelum, Adesanya claimed that he received praise from many fighters on the roster but noticed two that didn’t give any praise.
“Even Rob [Whittaker] said if it [the decision] would have went to Kelvin, he wouldn’t have complained and I was like ‘what fight were you watching?’ Idiot,” he said.
“The juice monkey, Paulo Costa, said he’s going to do this and going to do that. It’s just that green-eyed monster because I’m doing what they wish they were doing. They don’t have to give me credit, they don’t have to respect me, I’ll make them respect me”