Las Vegas, NV — Not once in the preparation for his showdown with light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz has Israel Adesanya felt as if he’d bit off more than he could chew.
The middleweight champion, it seems, has quite an appetite. He’ll look to become the next double-champ in the UFC Saturday at UFC 259. Against Blachowicz, who will be making his first title defense, “The Last Stylebender” enters as the betting favorite.
“For me, this is what I’ve always predicted to do in this game, which is change the game, change history,” Adesanya (20-0) said during a pre-fight press conference Thursday, promoting the event. “I came in here just over three years ago, and look what I’ve done so far. And I’ve got a long way to go.”
Lest you think 185lbs could be in the past for Adesanya, think again. “Middleweight’s my division,” the champion stated. One that he plans to rule with an “iron black fist.”
While he doesn’t want to look past his opponent this weekend, “I’m going to go back down and handle business there, depending on the lay of the land,” Adesanya stated.
The City Kickboxing star has been tapped as a fighter who could some day transcend the sport of mixed martial arts, like Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor before him. It’s an assessment Adesanya himself is very much on board with.
“It’s inevitable, it’s inevitable. But I just have to get used to it,” he stated. “I just have to accept it, and not hide from the role that I’m in, not hide from the platform that I’m on. Because a lot of people get to this spot and they start to like— I’ve been here now, I’m like, sh*t. What did Kanye West say? Y’all can have it back. I just accept it. It is what it is, I am who I am. So I just run with it.”
Adesanya hit a chord with the general public with his walkout ahead of his title bid against Robert Whittaker in 2019. Don’t expect a repeat performance this weekend, however. “That moment at UFC 243 was for that moment,” Adesanya stated Thursday. “I feel like for me, expect the unexpected. It’s because that was unexpected, that’s why it had such a big impact.”
“So now you all are expecting it, like a bunch of junkies— No,” he continued. “I’m just doing what I do. It’s walkout to knockout.”
Israel Adesanya challenges Jan Blachowicz for light heavyweight gold at UFC 259 on Saturday, March 6 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.