Israel Adesanya believes he and Alex Pereira are not done with each other.
Again, Pereira and Adesanya faced off in UFC 281, Combat sports. Pereira made an amazing comeback and hurt Adesanya with his left hook. He then continued to take shots until Marc Goddard, the referee, jumped in for the TKO standing.
The loss moved Adesanya to 0-3 against Pereira, and while he isn’t a fan of the stoppage, the former UFC middleweight champion is still in good spirits after losing his belt, in part because he knows they’ll meet again.
“I’ll watch the fight again,” Adesanya told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “I haven’t watched the fight again, but I don’t think I’m going to fixate on it, because it’s not one of these things that’s like, ‘Oh, goddamn it!’ I’ll fight him again.
Though Adesanya is 0-3 against Pereira, including two knockout losses, his first two defeats were in kickboxing, making it much more likely the UFC would book a fourth fight. UFC President Dana White also said that, suggesting that a rematch may be possible immediately. Adesanya agrees with Pereira and says that he will fight him again, regardless of Pereira losing the title.
“I’ll still fight him,” Adesanya said. “If he was going to fight someone else and lose the belt, I’ll still fight him [next]. I’ll fight him. Although I do hope that he is the champion, I am just speculating, and assuming that he will be, I would still fight him.
“I’m crazy, bro. I can beat him. He is a formidable opponent. You’ve seen I can beat him. He just — I won’t say luck, f*** luck — he just invested well. It was a good strategy. Although he’s an excellent fighter, I do know that I am…perhaps it’s my ego. Sure. Yes, I am allowed. It’s just that I believe I’m better .”
Until Adesanya has the opportunity to show it, however, he finds himself in unknown territory. He is no longer the champion at middleweight after three years. Although some may expect Adesanya to take the loss very hard, “The Last Stylebender,” said that it was just another step in his journey.
“People expect me to handle this like they would, so they project, and are probably just like, under a rock, or a cave somewhere,” Adesanya said. “But I’m like, nah. I’m living my life. I’m really grateful. I meant that. It’s not a fugazi It’s a blessing to be where I am, with the opportunities that I have, to be able do what I did, and be able set up for my next chapter .”