Israel Adesanya and Dricus du Plessis once appeared likely to clash at UFC 293 in September, following the South African’s win over Robert Whittaker several months prior.
But ‘Stillknocks’ withdrew himself from contention for a clash with Adesanya in Sydney due to injury, and Sean Strickland agreed to replace him. ‘The Last Stylebender’ was a heavy favorite ahead of fight night, but many viewers were left stunned as Strickland dominated Adesanya for almost all five rounds.
‘Tarzan’ was crowned the new champion, and a month after the surprising defeat, Israel Adesanya shared that he would be taking an extended break from fighting. ‘The Last Stylebender’, in a later interview, followed those comments up by jesting that he may only return in 2027. But it seems that Dricus du Plessis may have taken his comments seriously.
During a recent interview on the Hack Check Podcast, ‘Stillknocks’ shared his confusion at Israel Adesanya’s announcement, saying:
“The fact that he made that announcement quite a long while after the loss, you know if he did that directly after… it’s weird. It’s definitely some sort of publicity stunt. I mean, he says 2027, in 2027 he’s gonna be like 38 or 39. That makes no sense. But whatever he decides to do, that’s on him. Like I said, I would like to fight him when the opportunity arises, when it makes sense.”
Watch the video below from 0:25:
Robert Whittaker shares his take on Israel Adesanya’s break from fighting
Israel Adesanya suffered his second defeat at middleweight after he lost to Sean Strickland at UFC 293 earlier this year — a result that surprised many.
The consensus was that ‘The Last Stylebender’ would dominate the striking exchanges, and that Strickland would need to employ a grappling-heavy gameplan in order to find success.
But after dropping Adesanya in stunning fashion in Round 1, Sean Strickland proceeded to dominate the fight en route to a unanimous decision win. A month after his defeat, Adesanya announced he would be taking a break from competition, with his jam-packed schedule a likely contributing factor to his decision.
Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has now shared his thoughts on Adesanya’s announcement. ‘The Reaper’ told Submission Radio on YouTube:
“Lilife doesn’t stop for us… You guys only see a sliver of our lives and what we do, but bar those 15, 25 minutes, there’s a lot of time spent elsewhere… Also, a lot of time spent in the gym, and time spent in the gym isn’t time we’re out at baby showers or having lunch with our families.”
“Speaking for Israel, personally, I don’t know what he’s doing. I hope he’s doing well… He’s got money now, he’s got legacy behind him… he has the time to just go out and chill for a bit.”
Watch the video below (11:30):