With UFC 243 right around the corner, current UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will return to action, after being away for 16 months in a title unification fight against interim champion Israel Adesanya.
In what many are calling the biggest fight in Australia and New Zealand history, the two fighters have been given star treatment by the UFC and their host venue of Marvel Stadium in the build-up to the fight. With plenty of media, appearances, and attention being given to both fighters, “The Last Stylebender”, Adesanya, believes he’s built for the pressure of a main event this meaningful.
Speaking to Luke Thomas of The Luke Thomas Show on Sirius XM, Israel Adesanya explained why he believes he’s more fit to the pressure of UFC 243 over his opponent Robert Whittaker. Making his UFC debut in February of 2018, Adesanya has had six fights since joining the promotion, and has fought four times since Whittaker last competed at UFC 225.
For Adesanya, he told Luke Thomas that he believes his multiple main event fights in such a short period of time are what makes him more prepared for the pressure of the main event at UFC 243, noting that every fight is different.
🚨🚨With #UFC243 right around the corner, listen to Israel Adesanya tell @lthomasnews why he's more equipped for the main event pressure than Robert Whittaker #TLTS 🚨🚨
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) October 3, 2019
“I think this one is a lot different, this one is a lot different because of what’s riding on it. Each fight is unique but also just the fact that it is at Marvel Stadium, it’s just the story of the fight itself. The Trans Tasman rivalry, the Kiwi, the All-Black against the Australian. The fight story itself is completely different than any other fight I’ve ever had, but it will be the biggest fight I’ve had yet.”
When asked how he handles the pressure of a main event of this magnitude, Israel Adesanya believes pressure is an acquired taste.
“People been asking me this the last two weeks. For me, I say pressure is an acquired taste. It’s a very acquired taste and I’ve been eating that deliciously for so long, even before the UFC, Rob [Whittaker] hasn’t been. Sure, everyone deals with pressure in different facets of life but he hasn’t tasted what I’ve tasted in the last 20 months.
That’s why he’s competed in local wrestling tournaments to try and taste a little bit of that. Like I said, it’s acquired, it’s an acquired taste like a caviar. He’s not used to it. For me, why I stay calm in this, I’m Player 1 man, I’m just doing me at the end of the day.
I know me and I’m doing all the work so that’s what keeps me calm, that’s what keeps me confident. I’ve visualized myself walking to the cage, whenever I hear my track play, I focus on walking to that cage, I feel that sense of relief, that sense of freedom. Kind of how I felt in New York, I felt this relief, like freestyle, it’s time to play, and I’m looking to emulate that again when I get to UFC 243.”
Israel Adesanya is not short of confidence heading into the UFC 243 main event against Robert Whittaker, and he believes he’s spent more time under big time pressure and that makes him feel more at home.
Here’s how you can watch UFC 243 this weekend, who do you have winning the main event?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 10/3/2019