UFC middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya donned his metaphorical psychology cap to dissect the mindset of his UFC 293 adversary, Sean Strickland. Adesanya didn’t mince words when discussing his initial impressions of Strickland.
“Strickland clearly has insecurities,” Adesanya confided to The Mac Life. “First impressions are everything, and if you’re going for the tough-guy vibe, you better make it stick right out of the gate. For me? My takeaway was simple: The dude’s a coward.”
The two fighters are set to square off for the middleweight championship in this Saturday’s blockbuster pay-per-view event in Sydney. The roots of their rivalry can be traced back to the UFC 276 press conference in July 2022. During that time, Adesanya was slated to face Jared Cannonier, while Strickland was preparing to square off with Alex Pereira.
The pair exchanged heated words before everyone eventually simmered down. That night, Adesanya defended his title in stellar fashion, whereas Strickland tasted the mat in the first round.
As the two gear up to meet in the octagon this weekend, Adesanya reminisced about that memorable 2022 International Fight Week press conference and the insights he gained that have informed his mindset for their upcoming brawl.
“I didn’t set out to label him a coward or anything. I was just like, ‘Hey man, how’s it going?’ And his response was something along the lines of, ‘Don’t treat me like you did Paulo Costa.’ Then he hops on stage and starts mouthing off. That’s why his attempts to rile me up now fall flat,” Adesanya explained.
Strickland has repeatedly tried to get under Adesanya’s skin by poking fun at his affinity for anime and his penchant for nail painting. However, Adesanya recently informed MMA Hook that he has every intention to not only paint his nails but to use those “artistically adorned knuckles” to lay Strickland out cold.
But Adesanya isn’t stopping at mere victory; he has plans to add a little extra pizzazz to the spectacle, especially when the dust settles post-fight.
“I plan on ruining my manicure on his mug,” said Adesanya. “The guy’s got issues, trust me. I’ve seen how he is when the cameras aren’t rolling. He’s wrapped up in his own insecurities, but that’s a ‘him’ issue, not a ‘me’ issue. I’m secure in who I am. I’ve put in the personal work.”
“And why do I need to knock him out? So I can bust a move over him TikTok-style, of course.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Israel Adesanya vs Sean Strickland
What’s the backstory of Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland’s rivalry?
Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland’s rivalry traces back to the UFC 276 press conference in July 2022. Adesanya was originally scheduled to face Jared Cannonier, while Strickland was gearing up to fight Alex Pereira. Both fighters engaged in a war of words at the press conference, setting the stage for their upcoming showdown.
Why did Adesanya label Strickland as “insecure”?
Adesanya described Strickland as “insecure” based on their initial interactions. He believed that Strickland’s demeanor during their first encounter at the press conference showed signs of insecurity, leading Adesanya to characterize him in that way.
How does Strickland taunt Adesanya regarding his interests in anime and nail painting?
Strickland has been playfully needling Adesanya by referencing his love for anime and his habit of painting his nails. Adesanya, in response, has embraced this by planning to paint his nails before the fight and then using his “artistically adorned knuckles” to knock Strickland out.
What’s Adesanya’s plan after defeating Strickland?
Adesanya intends to add some flair to the post-fight celebration. He humorously mentioned breaking his newly painted nails on Strickland’s face, followed by a TikTok dance over his fallen opponent.
When and where will Adesanya and Strickland face off?
Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland will square off for the middleweight championship in a highly anticipated fight scheduled for the main event of a pay-per-view card in Sydney, which takes place this Saturday.