Stake’s Exclusive Interview with Israel Adesanya

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Israel Adesanya predicts he will f*** up Robert Whittaker this weekend, is convinced he will revert back to old errors and warns him not to grapple“ “My prediction is that I am going to f*** Whittaker up, again. He can’t stand with me, so I know he will be forced to grapple. “Last time he said ‘Kevin Gastelum has given the blueprint on how to beat Adesanya’ and now he’s saying ‘Jan has given the blueprint’…. he needs to write his own blueprint. “If he wants to copy someone else’s work, then by all means try, because it went so well last time for him when we fought.”

“Whittaker may have learnt from his mistakes from last time for maybe a round or so, but then trust me, he will revert back to those errors. “Once he feels what he felt last time, he won’t know where to turn. Also, he didn’t even grapple with me last time, he didn’t really feel me. “You can ask any of my previous opponents, they will tell you. “So once he feels me in a grapple, then he will get shook again.”

Israel Adesanya on how he never gets complacent or cuts corners, believing this has been his best camp yet “I don’t know about another death note the second time around. Those things come to me whenever they come to me. “But let me tell you, I never get complacent, this makes me fired up. It’s another easy bag, so I cannot afford to fumble this bag. “For me, I’ve done the work. This is one of the best camps I have had, and I still have hard training to go. “Just being present and having fun is important. I look forward to the work in this one, I look forward to coming at him. “There has been no cutting corners this time. It’s made me even more motivated to do it again and do it more decisively if that’s even possible. “That is my motivation for this fight, to get up and beat him again in an even more devastating fashion.”

Israel Adesanya on Whittaker’s ‘ego’ claims and whether he has improved since last they fought “It was his ego last time, but I called it from the fight. I said at the time that he is acting out of character and I also said he is not being himself. “People kept saying what a good guy he is, but trust me he’s not. You don’t see that behind the scenes. “And now he’s admitted it was his ego that got the best of him – well I told you so, he should have listened to me! “What else can he say? He said after the fight that it was the best he’s ever felt, well I do not forget that. “If he can get better, he’ll have to bring the best again and I will beat him again. “To be honest, I have seen some improvements in his game, but it is not as drastic as you might believe. “But it is an improvement, so I will have to be watchful. “But I have improved too in the same time, I have not stayed the same, you have to realise that. “I have grown at a rapid rate and learnt at a really fast pace, so I am rolling with it.”

Israel Adesanya on how he keeps himself motivated and fresh – which is lapping the middleweight division again after a ‘boring’ 2021 “What keeps it fresh for me is lapping the division again, that keeps me motivated. “I want to fight three or four times this year in order to do that – although it remains to be seen if the pace of the pandemic will slow that down. “There’s only so many cards and so many contenders. But I look forward to lapping these guys again so then when I do that everyone will know. “I’ve got my last opponent Vettori saying ‘third time’s a charm’… what an idiot. “Having fun and always learning is the biggest thing for me. “I’ve always been that kid who people used to say was a special athlete, but I just shied away from it and shunned it a lot even though I learnt very fast – I was able to learn something one day and apply it the next day. “So I am just tapping into that a lot during this camp and accepting that I am that kid that I have that gift to replicate what I see really quickly. “For me, last year was a bit boring for me so I want to refresh my art, so I am doing just that right now.”

Israel Adesanya on what is next post Whittaker, moving back up to light-heavyweight and ‘drinking every minute in’ “I may return to the 205lb division, but I call that a side mission that may happen again down the line. “I am just fully focused at 185lb right now, we’ll figure that out when it comes. Focus is where I am at and what I am the king at. “I had a point to prove to myself after losing to Jan going up to light-heavyweight, but the defeat never shook my self-belief at all. “My last fight proved that, this fight is going to prove that and every further fight in my career will prove that I know exactly who I am. “When I beat Whittaker, I honestly don’t have any immediate plan on what to do next. “I am just going to keep doing what I am doing at 185, line them up and knock them down. “And once I’ve lapped the division on my terms, then I might step up and do another side mission at a different weight. “In terms of fighting Alex Pereira, he has only had one fight, so it’s a bit premature yet. “Let’s see how he does in other fights, but I do look forward to that arc in my story. “So far my career has panned out like I wanted to, and then some. But I am not even close to being done. “It’s a privilege to live this lifestyle and I am enjoying every minute of it soaking it all in. “I keep telling people they should do the same, but there’s only so many fights that I have left before I am on my way out – given I am over the halfway point of my career. “So I just drink every minute in.”

Israel Adesanya on his ‘history making’ dream of staging an African card alongside Francis Ngannou and Kamaru Usman “The Africa dream is 100% live. “What myself, Kamaru and Francis are doing right now is history. There has got to be a way of cementing that for us and our people. “A card on the great continent of Africa will be the one, so by hook or by crook we will make that happen. “The UFC have known about it for a while and it will happen one day, but things need to align properly and we don’t want to rush history. “It’s one of my main goals as a person and a professional fighter. But it’s bigger than me, or Francis or Kamaru, it’s history for an entire continent. “So before the curtain calls for me, I want to say ‘I did that’, it would be beautiful.”