Israel Adesanya is days out from the toughest fight of his career, according to his head coach, Eugene Bareman.
Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion, is slated to move up to light heavyweight to challenge Jan Blachowicz in a bid for a second-title at UFC 259 this Saturday.
While Adesanya will enter this potentially career-changing fight as the betting favorite, his coach isn’t underestimating the task at hand. In fact, Bareman considers Blachowicz the toughest test of Adesanya’s career so far—quite a claim considering the middleweight champ has already fought the likes of Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero, Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva, Marvin Vettori and Derek Brunson.
“This is Israel’s hardest fight by quite a bit,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “I think this is a jump up from any of his previous challengers. And for all intents and purposes within our camp, we are building ourselves as the underdogs. And we’re doing that based on we’re giving away this size and weight advantage that we sometimes have in our favor. Now we’re gonna give it away. So, it’s just a very hard (fight).
“What we’re about to attempt here is, people don’t understand, a very, very difficult endeavor and a very risky one, and one that makes for all us coaches and Israel, it makes the hairs on the back of our necks stand up. Because this is a true, true challenge – a hefty challenge. And it’s a scary one, and it’s one that gets you up early in the morning and wanting to attack it. And we’ve had a great camp because it’s just a highly motivating fight. And it’s a highly motivating fight because it’s such a dangerous fight.”
Bareman sees a number of risks for Israel Adesanya in this fight with Blachowicz. One of them, however, might come as a bit of a surprise.
According to the famed City Kickboxing coach, Blachowicz’s confidence is one of the things that makes him most dangerous.
“The second thing that makes him very dangerous is his confidence,” Bareman said. “And his confidence doesn’t get talked about a lot because it’s not the braggadocios type of confidence that is a little bit more in line with Israel’s type of confidence. It’s just a quiet, unassuming confidence that I believe Jan has in his ability, and I believe Jan is extremely confident that Israel is not gonna have the tools to beat him.
“A lot of people, they understand that they have to be confident in a fight and they try to exude that, but they try too hard,” the Adesanya coach continued. “Their confidence, to be honest, with a lot of fighters, it’s not really there. They’re just hoping that confidence, through acting confident, they’re hoping that this confidence will just arise out of nowhere. They don’t truly have it. But that’s not the case with Jan. I feel that he is genuinely, supremely confident that he can win this fight.
“And that to me, that’s like a very dangerous opponent,” Bareman concluded. “That’s an opponent that’s got nothing to lose. That’s an opponent that’s going to be willing to come in there and take risks that the other previous opponents haven’t been willing to do. So, two things: His physical advantages and then this quiet unassuming confidence that he kind of walks around with. I think those are the two dangerous things that kind of underline this fight.”
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