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UFC middleweight Jared Cannonier reveals why he never looks his opponent in the eye

UFC middleweight Jared Cannonier
UFC middleweight Jared Cannonier
Modified 21 Oct 2020, 20:43 IST

UFC middleweight Jared Cannonier is due to take on Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 to have the chance to challenge the champion Israel Adesanya for the gold. Speaking ahead of the fight with BT Sport, Cannonier was asked about 'flipping the switch' ahead of a fight. 

It depends on the energy and intent. Right now, my intent is to connect with you (the reporter). We are exchanging energy, the same thing happens in a fight. Everything is energy, it's a matter of the degree of energy. 
On fight night, the person (opponent) is not there at that point. There is only a shell at that point. That's why I never look my opponents in the eye, because I don't want to fight his soul, I want his soul to remain intact. 
If anything, I want to learn from your soul, I want our souls to connect. So when it comes to fight night, I am the biggest thing in the arena. Whether my opponent knows it or not, when the referee says 'Go', I am going to get bigger and bigger until there is nowhere else to go. The energy is intent and focus. 

Jared Cannonier has to beat Robert Whittaker to get to Israel Adesanya 

Jared Cannonier has had an unusual path to UFC middleweight contendership. The 36-year-old dropped down from heavyweight, via the Light Heavyweight division to finally make his mark in the Middleweight division. 

Cannonier is on a 3-fight win streak with finishes against David Branch, Anderson Silva and Jack Hermansson. However, he will face his toughest test to date against former champion Whittaker. 

Robert Whittaker of Australia celebrates after his victory over Darren Till of England 
Robert Whittaker of Australia celebrates after his victory over Darren Till of England 

The Australian took the exact opposite route of Cannonier to get to middleweight as he moved up from welterweight. The 29-year-old beat British southpaw Darren Till earlier in the year and needs to beat Cannonier to secure another title shot. 

Whittaker lost the belt to Adesanya in October last year, getting knocked out in the 2nd Round. The Aussie, however, later admitted that he had lost his love for the sport at that point, which contributed to his loss. 

Published 21 Oct 2020, 20:43 IST
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