Israel Adesanya might very well be the hottest prospect in the Ultimate Fighting Championship at the moment. While Michael Bisping is undoubtedly impressed with “The Last Stylebender,” the former middleweight champion clearly sees some holes in the young fighter’s game.
“I like Israel Adesanya but I’ll tell you something, if there’s one person if you asked me who I want to fight right now, it would be Israel,” Bisping said recently on his "Believe You Me" podcast. “When I look at him — listen, he’s good, he’s great, but I’m sorry, I’m not buying it. I’m not saying I’m not impressed. I’m on the hype train. He’s good, he’s beating people. He’s beating the Marvin Vettoris of the world. He had a good win against Derek Brunson but Derek Brunson looked like sh—t. He was terrified.
“I think I would have an easy time with him. Just saying, just throwing it out there.”
Adesanya earned the most impressive victory of his career to date at UFC 230, dispatching Brunson via technical knockout 4:51 into the opening stanza at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 3. Now the Nigerian striker will face former pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva at UFC 234 in February. Adesanya is a heavy favorite against the 43-year-old, but Bisping cautions not to count “The Spider” out just yet.
“Israel is an entertaining guy. He was talking about the fight with Anderson and how he looks up to him and he doesn’t want to kill his hero but that’s what he’s gonna try and do. I don’t know if it’s that simple,” Bisping said. “Anderson is very capable and Israel said as much. We’ll see what happens. I think Anderson knows his back is up against the wall. For him to have any kind of career after this fight, he has to win this fight, he has to look good. Of course, he had the whole thing with steroids as well, so Anderson has a lot to prove right now. So I wouldn’t be running out there and putting the money on Israel Adesanya just yet.”
That said, Bisping did not expect Adesanya to breeze through Brunson the way he did. “The Count” even admits he is on the Adesanya “hype train.” But even in retirement, the Englishman still is enough of a competitor to imagine himself in the Octagon against the UFC’s “Next Big Thing.”
“He fought Derek Brunson and I thought Derek Brunson was going to give him a hard time but he made easy work of him,” Bisping said. “But Derek Brunson looked like s—t. So now he’s fighting Anderson Silva and if he beats him — and it’s not fair to Israel - people will say, ‘Yeah, but he beat a 43-year-old Anderson Silva.’ It is a tricky one and it’s kind of a lose-lose because if beats him, he’ll get that, and if he loses, he got beat by a 43-year-old Anderson Silva. Fact of the matter is, he deserves the hype. He’s very exciting, he looks good, he fights with an exciting style, he’s entertaining on the microphone, inside the cage, outside I’m on the hype train, I think he’s great. I’m only saying I want to fight him from a competitive standpoint.”