Israel Adesanya shared a story that helped him overcome his fears during a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden a few days before his UFC 230 encounter with Derek Brunson at the same venue.
On October 30, 2018, Adesanya attended an Eastern Conference clash between the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Ahead of the matchup, he was given an opportunity to shoot the ball.
As he was contemplating whether or not to do it, the game started. On his official YouTube channel, 'Izzy' expressed his regret and added how that moment positively affected his performance against Brunson.
On another visit to the MSG, Israel Adesanya eventually got his chance to score a few baskets.
"I went to the Knicks game earlier in the week. The game is about to kick off maybe in three minutes and I see one of the ball guys beckoning me to take a shot. I felt like shame. I felt like I didn't want to put myself out there. F**k everyone is going to be watching me. What if I miss? I had an internal dialogue for a split second where I was like you are in MSG and you get to take a shot into the hoop. So I was like yup! Then he goes they're about to do the tip-off. That sat with me for the rest of the week. When I was in MSG for Fight Night, I made sure I went for it... Next year, the same exact ball guy sees me. So I tell him about the story. He's like do you want to shoot them. I'm like f**k yeah, let me shoot. Miss, that's all good, hit me again! I sunk a few eventually," said Adesanya.
Watch Israel Adesanya analyze his UFC 230 bout with Derek Brunson below:
Israel Adesanya is rumored to defend his belt against Robert Whittaker in a rematch at UFC 271 in February 2022
Israel Adesanya is reportedly set to defend his UFC middleweight championship against Robert Whittaker in a rematch at UFC 271 on February 12, 2022. This will be his fourth title defense.
Adesanya won the belt at UFC 243 in October 2019 by defeating Whittaker in Australia. 'The Reaper' has since been on a three-fight winning streak to secure another fight with 'The Last Stylebender'.
Whittaker currently holds a 23-5 record. Meanwhile, Adesanya stands undefeated at middleweight with a 21-1 record, his sole defeat being to former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.