Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and middleweight contender Kevin Holland have been engaged in a war of words against each other for quite some time now. The verbal feud reached a crescendo when Adesanya made a ‘rape’ comment against Holland, which led to Adesanya losing his BMW sponsorship.
Kevin Holland addressed this during an appearance on ESPN MMA’s Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. On his trash talk with Israel Adesanya getting heated and Adesanya losing the BMW sponsorship over comments that he (Adesanya) made, Kevin Holland stated:
“Hey, you know, I hate to pi** people off, but it’s simply fight talk, you know. It’s simply fight talk. I’m not like Marvin Vettori. (He) says he doesn’t like that guy (Israel Adesanya), he doesn’t wish anything good for him. I’m not that guy. I don’t wish anything bad on you until I’m the one doing bad to you. You know, it’s like, I do a little message out after like watch what you say to me because fights might happen. But I was just joking.
“At the end of the day, it’s like I want these people to be as rich as they can be, I want them to get as many sponsorships as they can get, I want them to win as many fights as they can; until they come across me. And then, that’s a problem, you know what I’m saying. So, you know, BMW. I think it was BMW, right? Don’t worry about that. It was a little fight talk. I guarantee you he would rape nothing, you know. He would not ever, in his life, I don’t think he would attempt them type of things.
“So, throw that out the window, you know. He was simply saying that he’d dominate me in the game. And he should throw that out the window as well because being too confident can put you in a very bad situation – as he’s seen in his Jan (Blachowicz) fight, and as I’ve seen in the Derek Brunson fight. So, no, I’m not even worried about it. I wish they would have never did that to him. It’s simply a little fight talk. But, you know, he definitely knows who I am now, right? He definitely will always remember me.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)
Israel Adesanya recently issued an apology for the comment. Meanwhile, Kevin Holland has emphasized that Adesanya was simply engaging in fight talk and didn’t really mean to follow through on the threat he issued against Holland.
Is a Kevin Holland vs. Israel Adesanya matchup a realistic possibility?
Kevin Holland’s most recent fight was a unanimous decision loss against Derek Brunson at UFC on ESPN: Brunson vs. Holland (March 20th, 2021). Kevin Holland has stepped in on short notice to fight Marvin Vettori whim he’ll face at UFC on ABC: Vettori vs. Holland (April 10th, 2021).
On the other hand, Israel Adesanya is coming off a unanimous decision loss against UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 (March 6th, 2021). Adesanya came up short in his bid to win the light heavyweight belt and become a UFC double champion. But he has since confirmed that he’ll be returning to the middleweight division and will defend his title.
Adesanya had recently expressed interest in fighting Darren Till. Nevertheless, since Till is out with an injury and Adesanya has already defeated most other top middleweights, a potential fight between him and Kevin Holland isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
This matchup could come to fruition in the future, but not unless Kevin Holland can return to the win column. And in order to do that, Holland would first have to get past the No. 6-ranked UFC middleweight contender Marvin Vettori.