It’s not like Israel Adesanya has never lost before. His kickboxing record shows 5 defeats and he dropped his pro boxing debut back in 2014. But, in the cage the ‘Last Stylebender’ has been entirely unbeaten. That’s 9 years and 20 bouts worth of mixed martial arts that the Nigerian-born New Zealander has racked up without ever failing to get his hand raised.
In the mind of UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, that makes his win over Adesanya this last Saturday, in the main event of UFC 259, something a little bit more special. And it’s not just an occasion for him to savor, but being the City Kickboxing talent’s first ever defeat in MMA, Blachowicz thinks it’ll have some serious staying power in Adesanya’s mind as well.
“It tastes different,” Blachowicz told reporters, speaking of his victory after UFC 259 (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I proved that I’m a true champion. I don’t know yet. Always, when you win the fight, it’s an amazing feeling. But right now, because I won against someone like Israel, one of the best in the world, [and] now he’s got 20-1, so he’s going to remember me until the end of his life; I’m the first one to defeat him in MMA, it tastes much better. It’s amazing.”
“What can I say? I’m just happy,” Blachowicz added. “I defended my belt. Now I proved that I’m a true champion. Now, I think I’m going to have respect from everybody. In the next fight, I don’t think I’m going to be an underdog. But I don’t care anyway. I could be.”
The Polish light heavyweight king is aiming to defend his belt against Glover Teixeira on his next trip to the Octagon, as long as Teixeira “wants to wait a little bit longer,” for Blachowicz to recover from his latest victory. The 41-year-old Brazilian staked his claim to top contender status with a 4-fight winning streak, most recently picking up the victory over former title challenger Thiago Santos.
For Adesanya, his next bout will most likely come back down at 185 lbs. While there’s no definite no. 1 contender at the moment, upcoming bouts between Robert Whittaker & Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori & Darren Till seem like they could possibly decide a challenger for the middleweight title.