Houston, TX – The UFC middleweight champion came in to UFC 271 looking to defend his title and put on a show for the fans, but his opponent made sure it wasn’t easy this time.
UFC champion Israel Adesanya defeated former title holder Robert Whittaker via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 271 on Saturday night.
“7/10. Not bad. Good night in the office good chess match,” Adesanya said at his post-fight scrum.
The talk throughout the build up to the PPV was that Whittaker (23-6) had made the necessary changes to defeat Adesanya in their rematch from UFC 243. Then interim champion Adesanya defeated Whittaker via knockout to unify the middleweight belts.
“It’s easier said than done. Even if you’ve already been in there with me before. People feel like, I feel like they have goldfish memories. But then when they’re in there with me they realize, ‘Oh sh*t it’s not as easy as we thought’ and yeah they just have to revert back to what they know.”
The conversation moved to what is next for the 185 champion, and it was pretty clear who the next challenge will be. Jared Cannonier defeated Derek Brunson earlier in the night and it seems as though he will be next for a title shot.
“I just saw bits and pieces. I saw he, I think he even got rocked, I saw he got taken down. Then he elbowed Brunson. So I didn’t really take stock. I’ll go back and watch the fights later on and see what it is. He made a statement. I even told him after the weigh-ins, not the ceremonial ones the official weigh-in, I said, ‘Look, please take this guy out so I can get some fresh meat’ and he said ‘Bro, i’m trying to work’ I’m like ‘Me too’. So, I’m a man of my word.”
Earlier in the week Adesanya revealed that he had signed a new lucrative deal with the UFC prior to UFC 271. Many in the media connected that to the issues the promotion has had with heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
“I signed this bout agreement on Monday. I don’t know this narrative of like they just gave me a new deal because of what was happening with Francis. I’m like no. My dealings with the UFC don’t need to be brought forth because every case is different. With Francis’ case that, he needed to bring that forward because it was atrocious and I respect him for that. And like I said this is the first step. Dana already said they had dinner before he went back to Cameroon. They’re going to have dinner when they come back.”
“So yeah people make mistakes. You know, the UFC is filled with humans, humans make mistakes. Human error, but we can always amend those mistakes. Honestly rising tides lifts all the ships. With this I feel like it’s the first step in this trickle down effect to the rest of the fighters and lifting everyone up. I’m not saying pay the debutant some crazy money. I’m just like ‘Nah pay them enough to be able to train, feed their family, and actually not have a second or third job.'”
Watch the full UFC 271 post-fight press conference with Israel Adesanya above.