UFC president Dana White struggled to find an explanation for Israel Adesanya’s rough performance against Sean Strickland on Saturday night.
Adesanya lost via unanimous decision to heavy underdog Sean Strickland at UFC 293 in the main event, losing his middleweight belt. Adesanya got knocked down at the end of the first round and never really recovered.
“There are a million things that could go wrong. Some days you wake up and you’re just not there, man. It’s just not there,” White told reporters after the fight. “He looked bone-dry tonight, standing up really tall. He looked very slow. He looked like he couldn’t get off at all. Even in the fifth round when everybody knew he needed a knockout to win the fight, there was no sense of urgency to try to finish the fight. So I don’t know if he’s hurt or if tonight’s the night.”
According to UFC Stats, Strickland outlanded Adesanya 137-94 in total strikes. As White noted, Adesanya didn’t have much offense left to offer in the final round.
Israel Adesanya Bails on Questions After Loss to Strickland
White was hoping that Adesanya might have an explanation following the fight but the former champ didn’t have much to say after losing his belt. Adesanya sat in front of the media for less than a minute, handing over the questions to his coach, Eugene Bareman.
“Right now, I lost tonight to the better man on the night. And I just want to go be with people who care about me and my team, and they’re waiting for me. So I’m going to do that,” Adesanya said at the podium. “But I will leave you in the capable hands of a man who is much smarter than me. I’ll admit this on worldwide national media. I’ll leave you with Eugene Behrman. He’ll handle this for the first time. I want to go chill, have some breakfast, build my family. And yeah, till next time.”
Shortly after leaving the podium, Adesanya took to social media with another message. The video was accompanied with the caption, “I hate loosing, but I love living. What a life,” with Adesanya showing off some of his battle wounds from the fight.
“Not that bad. Nothing broken,” Adesanya said. “It’s all good. I hate losing but I love living. And I’m thriving. First hang out with the family first and then I’ll address the people. But right now I gotta put me first.”
UFC Open to Rematch After Adesanya Loss
To be fair, even the usually talkative Strickland was at a loss for words after capturing UFC gold.
“I gave up so many brain cells to the MMA gods every day,” Strickland said in a postfight interview. “This is the first time I’m lost for words.”
Strickland and Adesanya might be seeing each other soon. White said the organization would be open to a rematch, giving Adesanya a chance to earn his belt back like he did against Alex Pereira.
“I think you do the rematch, absolutely,” White said. “The rematch is interesting. That could be the thing, too. When you think about you’re going into the Pereira fight, such a big fight, and you’ve been in there with this guy so many times, and then you overlook Strickland. You come in and I don’t know. I don’t know the answers to these questions, but Israel does, and I’m looking forward to hearing it.”
We’ll have to wait a little longer to see where Adesanya stands on the situation.