Israel Adesanya’s arrival in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, going 4-0 while displaying a personality as flashy as his fighting style, has garnered quite a bit of hype.
A bit too much hype, if you ask some of his middleweight colleagues: Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman labelled Adesanya as “as tad bit overrated,” while current champion Robert Whittaker told reporters earlier this year that he ”isn’t as good as he thinks he is.”
The 29-year-old Nigerian-born New Zealander continues to silence his critics with his performances inside the Octagon and recently made an appearance on Submission Radio and fired back at Whittaker’s comments (via MMAFighting.com):
“I don’t think of those comments and it doesn’t affect me in any way,” Adesanya said. “I mean, when the time comes, when I have the mic in my hand, I’m saying my thing. I’ll say, he thinks I’m not as good as I think I am, I’ll show him I’m greater than I think I am. So, they all can talk, they all have something to say until they’re in front of me, and they get chin checked. I’m not like ‘Wonderboy’ [Stephen Thompson]. Even the way I fight, I’m not like ‘Wonderboy,’ I’m not like anyone he’s ever fought that’s actually given him problems, depending on weight classes. I’m not like Yoel Romero. This is different. I’m still learning. You know, even though I’ve had so many fights in just one year, I’ve learned and I’ve grown with each fight, but it’s only been a year in the UFC. Don’t worry. They’re writing checks with their mouth right now, but their ass will cash it later on.”
“The Last Stylebender” will meet Kelvin Gastelum on April 13 at UFC 236 for the No. 1 contenders spot. Gastelum was scheduled to face Whittaker at UFC 234 last month but “The Reaper” suffered a hernia the day before the fight which required surgery.