UFC 243 : Israel Adesanya focused on what is in front of him

Ahead of the main event bout with Robert Whittaker this Sunday, a lot of the discussion has surrounded Adesanya’s future opponents, particular Jon Jones and Paulo Costa but the Auckland based fighter is adamant that his eyes are truly on the fight ahead at Marvel Stadium this Sunday.

“You guys [media] are the ones who are talking about him. I wouldn’t have even brought [Jones’] name up, if you guys hadn’t mentioned because of what he had said,” Adesanya told the media at Friday’s UFC 243 media day.

“Look whenever I did an eight-man tournament, Doug, when he first coached me, he said, ‘just focus on the first fight. You only have one fight tonight. Just concentrate on that fight.’ That was his quote. If you don’t get through that fight, you don’t have any more fights.

“So for me, I only have one fight. This weekend. I’m focused on that 100%. Trust me. That’s just white noise. He’s [Jones] just a troll.”

Despite that, the 30-year-old interim middleweight champion is excited about the possibility of moving not only to light-heavyweight but middleweight and has the full support of his coach, Eugene Bareman.

“I was surprised when [Eugene] said it. Honestly with Eugene. I’ve never had a big brother. I’m the guinea pig of my family. The test baby. He’s my big brother. Like an uncle to me. So for him to have that much faith in me. When someone like that has so much faith in you, it puts an immense belief in myself already. I wasn’t focused on Jones at all. I just had that in the timeline, way down the line in 2021 sometime. But when he said that, my mind went mmm. It got my brain going. It got me a little excited.

“I haven’t really thought much about it. Like I’ve said. I’m focused on one thing this weekend because if I don’t get this down, then it’s back to the drawing board. It won’t take me long but I don’t even want to go there. I want to get this done. I have to get this done. I’m telling you guys, I’m going to whoop his [Whittaker’s] arse. Because it’s in my mind. There is a method in my madness. I do everything in my power to make it happen.

For the full interview with Adesanya, click on the video above.

Started Martial Arts training after watching Mr Miyagi and Daniel-son in Karate Kid back in 1987. By the time MMA arrived many years later, I was hooked. Coverage of local MMA was via scarce posts on forums like the Underground and Sherdog. I embarked on covering the sport in 2002 and since then have written thousands of articles for both print and online media, before branching out and starting Fight News Australia in 2010. Outside the site, I dream of riding in an F1 car.