Chael Sonnen wonders about the criticism toward UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Adesanya (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) retained his title for a fifth time when he outpointed Jared Cannonier in the UFC 276 main event, but it was a snooze fest.
“There seems to be a chorus even coming from the smart marks in the cheap seats, the guys that are supposed to know,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “The guys in the back, fellow fighters, there seems to be this chorus about Adesanya in the way that he’s managing a match – as opposed to trying to finish, that he’s trying to get to the decision.”
“I would argue for you that even the smart marks, even the boys in the back, even the fellow fighters, there’s a level of brilliance that Adesanya’s doing that even they don’t understand. I would argue that for you.”
Adesanya addressed the critics post-fight and insisted he wasn’t coasting against Cannonier.
“We’re seeing greatness and we’re trying to beat him the only way we know how: verbally,” Sonnen said. “We’re trying to hurt his feelings because we can’t beat him in the cage, right? Guys, let’s be fair. Do you really feel that the guy is coasting? If so, where and how do you prove that?”
“Adesanya did not just get here with the punches and the kicks and the cool walkouts and the fun interviews. He got here being very level-headed. He got here by being very strategic and he got here by using his absolute best tools when he’s in combat – not trying to show off, not trying to do new stuff, not trying to get the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from the crowd. (He’s) trying to win this moment, defend here, attack here, move on to the next frame, rinse and repeat, five times if necessary, and there was a real maturity in the way Adesanya responded.”