Israel Adesanya has delivered an impassioned message to fans around the world ahead of his middleweight title defense at UFC 293.
“The Last Stylebender” first claimed the UFC’s middleweight belt in 2019 and went on to defend it five times before being knocked out by his former kickboxing rival Alex Pereira at UFC 281. Adesanya got his revenge in their immediate rematch when he stopped the Brazilian in the second round, and now he’s set to kick off his second reign as champion when he takes on Sean Strickland at UFC 293.
Adesanya’s film Stylebender that deals with themes of “fake masculinity and lack of emotional intelligence” is set to release later this month, and while speaking to Submission Radio ahead of UFC 293 the 34-year-old detailed the message he’s trying to get across to fans.
“I’m not trying to be one of these guys that politicians try and use to like ‘fan a flame’ for their agendas,” Adesanya said. “I’m just saying, there’s many sides to being a human being, a human animal. It’s not just about ‘Oh yeah, ride my motorbike,’ like all that s**t. I can do all that too, and I can kick your a**. You can’t tell me how to be me.”
Israel Adesanya: “I’m Not Saying Try And Be Like Me”
Adesanya’s perspective is certainly a unique one compared to a lot of the traditional stereotypes that are associated with combat sports, but at the end of the day “The Last Stylebender” wants every person to unapologetically just be themselves.
“Even in this movie, I’m not saying try and be like me. I’m not saying go bathe in flowers, I’m not saying do your nails, I’m not saying be a fighter. I’m just saying, authentically express you. However you feel, authentically express yourself to your fullest ability without giving a f**k what anyone else thinks. That’s the point of this movie, being yourself. I’m being completely myself in this movie when I’m just f**king being free. I want you to be free, so you need to be free from the shackles of society and the preconceived notions people have for you. Just be you. F**k me, be you.”
Many fans aren’t expecting Strickland to pose much of a threat to Adesanya when the two middleweights step into the cage in Australia, however given the challenger’s outspoken nature about a number of controversial topics there’s been considerable discussion around how the two fighters might engage with one another leading up to the event.
“The Last Stylebender” had already beaten most of the UFC’s top middleweights prior to his loss to Pereira, and while Strickland does provide a fresh challenge it seems as if fans and the UFC are more excited by the prospect of a future matchup between Adesanya and Dricus Du Plessis.
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