Israel Adesanya has finally broken his silence about his UFC 293 loss to Sean Strickland.
The two-time UFC middleweight champion released an interview on his YouTube channel with his brother David Adesanya, where he shared his thoughts on the stunning title loss for the first time since UFC 293's post-fight press conference.
When asked about his feelings, Adesanya responded, "Quietly confident, and that's after watching the fight. I was like, 'Oh yeah, I see.'"
Adesanya, 34, suffered a shocking unanimous decision loss to Strickland at the September 10 pay-per-view event, a result that was considered one of the most surprising in recent UFC memory.
Adesanya, who was heavily favored to win and claim his ninth championship victory in the UFC, struggled against Strickland, who outstruck and outworked him in an all-standup fight. Strickland even knocked Adesanya down in the first round and taunted him in the closing moments of the bout.
Reflecting on his performance, Adesanya said, "How did I feel in there? Like a bad dream. It wasn't a nightmare, a nightmare is like, 'Oh s***, f***.' A nightmare is when you're scared. It was just like, you try to hit the guy, and it just feels like noodle arms. Just like, what the f***? So yeah, I just felt like that — like a bad dream."
Despite the disappointing result, Adesanya remains quietly confident and believes that he has identified areas where he can improve. He acknowledges that Strickland's pressure and unique guard made it challenging for him to find his rhythm and execute his game plan.
Adesanya noted that a teammate observed that he didn't carry the same intensity into the fight against Strickland as he did when it was originally scheduled as a grudge match against Dricus du Plessis. However, he still felt sharp in the locker room before the bout.
As for his future, Adesanya stated, "We'll see." He remains focused on becoming a three-time UFC middleweight champion and is not concerned about who holds the belt when he gets his next title shot.
"The belt's never mattered to me," Adesanya said. "I mean, it does obviously, but how many times have I said it's just a fancy tiara that brings more money and this and that. That belt's just a nice accessory. I've already got belts, I have many belts. I'm just going to do it again, just for fun."