Israel Adesanya recently explained why his opponents played it safe against him in the octagon.
After UFC 276, Israel Adesanya is still the reigning middleweight champion.
It is clear that 'The Last Stylebender' possesses a high fight IQ and knows what it takes to remain on the throne. The rest of the middleweight division can't seem to outmatch him or figure out how to get through his defenses.
Title challengers have displayed a safe and slow strategy against him, instead of going all out with high speed and vicious attacks. Even when the odds are against them and the judges' score cards reflect the same, most fighters continue to play a patient gameplan. They wait on the right opportunity to strike the champion.
Here's what 'Izzy' had to say about the lack of ferocity from his opponents on his YouTube channel Freestlyebender:
"It's easier said than done."
Of course, a fighter wants to win with a big finish. However, when your opponent has an answer to your every attack or maneuver, it makes it nearly impossible to go out with guns blazing. The champ is no stranger to the situation either.
The champ continued to say:
"Well, I'd say the same thing about me as well, if I'm being honest, like I was, but not that I wasn't. I'd say the same thing as a champion, like as a champion as well, you - it's you can coast, yeah that's cool, but I don't want to be the guy that just coasts."
"I want to put work in people even in the fifth round. I've done it before, I've done it multiple times. So it's like I can, I know I can, so yeah, I am, I tried in this fight."
Adesanya knows he can bring pain and excitement to his fights. Just like his opponents, though, he feels it's easier to map out the gameplan in your head than it is to execute it in the cage.
Watch the discussion with Israel Adesanya on Freestylebender in the video below:
Fans claim Israel Adesanya is a "boring" fighter after UFC 276 title defense
Many fans were not pleased with the champ's performance in his recent title defense against Jared Cannonier. In the Twitter post above, fans are shown leaving the arena during the tail end of the fight.
It wasn't just civilian MMA fans who were disappointed by the main event. UFC two-division champion Henry Cejudo considered the fight to be lackluster, as did Marvel Cinematic Universe actor Chris Pratt.
Adesanya has vehemently spoken out against the claims and continues to consider himself a dominant and entertaining fighter.
Previous dominant champions such as Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva were also treated poorly by fans for some of their cage performances. However, they have still made their mark in the promotion.
That being said, 'The Last Stylebender' refuses to let criticism from fans alter his approach or stop him from defending his middleweight crown.