Israel Adesanya is primarily a striker, given his background as a professional kickboxer. However, 'The Last Stylebender' revealed that he's also confident in his ability to win fights on the ground.
During an interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, the reigning UFC middleweight champion was asked about the progression of his ground game and takedown defense. Adesanya responded by saying:
"You watch the fights in my early UFC career, the urgency to get up when I get to the ground, 'cause not that I'm lacking in those skills, but I wasn't just confident. But now, I'm very confident over the past few years in the gym on the ground. It just so happens that I haven't been able to do what I wanted to do on the ground because the fight rarely go to the ground."
The Nigerian-born Kiwi also addressed criticism that grappling is a weakness his opponents can exploit against him.
"I'm just saying, yeah, this whole thing about taking me to the ground is over. I feel like these guys are just like clutching at straws."
Watch Israel Adesanya's interview below:
Israel Adesanya vows to make short work of Jared Cannonier
Israel Adesanya is exceedingly confident that middleweight title challenger Jared Cannonier won't find any sort of success against him.
In May, the champion revealed what fans could expect from his UFC 276 title defense. Oozing with confidence, Adesanya said he'll "make it look easy."
Now, 'The Last Stylebender' is doubling down on his take. According to the 32-year-old superstar, his fight with Cannonier will be similar to Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin. Speaking about his upcoming main event bout in a video posted to his YouTube channel, Adesanya said:
"This is going to be spectacular. Think UFC 101, Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin. Like, I’m just going to be in the zone. I don’t care – stay tuned."
For context, Silva vs. Griffin was not a close contest at all. The legendary Brazilian toyed with the American before putting him away with a lightning-quick right hand. Given that Adesanya is often compared to Silva, it won't be surprising if 'The Last Stylebender' makes good on his promise come fight night.
However, Cannonier has shown in his last fight that he can put opponents away with just one punch. With that being the case, it's entirely possible for 'Tha Killa Gorilla' to walk away as the new UFC middleweight champion.