UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya defended the title in his last fight, but his performance wasn’t without criticism. Even by his own admission, Adesanya had an off night, which Dana White seems to agree with.
But the UFC boss has assured fans that won’t be the case for Adesanya’s next fight.
The African set himself up for a bout against fast-rising challenger Alex Pereira. Earlier that evening, Pereira (6-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) secured a title shot by knocking out Sean Strickland.
Because Pereira owns two kickboxing victories over Adesanya, which includes one knockout, White is certain that Adesanya will be motivated to take the fight to his nemesis.
“When you’re sitting here in my position, you can’t give too many guarantees,” White said Saturday during the UFC on ABC 3 post-event news conference. “I can say, ‘Stylistically on paper this should be,’ you know, or, ‘We feel this is gonna be’ – I f*cking guarantee you. I absolutely, positively guarantee you that the next fight that Israel Adesanya fights will be bat-sh*t nuts.”
Since becoming undisputed UFC middleweight champion in October 2019, Adesanya has five title defenses – with four decisions and one TKO finish of Paulo Costa. Heading into UFC 276, Adesanya talked a big game. And while he won soundly, the dominance and excitement didn’t match.
White, though, wouldn’t place all of the blame on the champ.
“He won,” White said. “I mean, I don’t know if it was the performance that he wanted to give or that he was selling leading into that fight. The other thing is I don’t think his opponent was very aggressive, either. It takes two to make a great fight. …
“It won’t happen in the next fight.”