Israel Adesanya admits he cried backstage after event against Cannonier

Adesanya will defend his Middleweight championship for the sixth time this weekend in New York City at UFC 281. Maybe the pressure is becoming a little much for him.

Adesanya acknowledged he struggled dealing with the criticism after defeating Jared Cannonier by a majority decision at UFC 276.

Adesanya told Helwani:

“I don’t hold on to things — I let myself feel them, you know? People try to deny things and block them. If you fight your emotions, they’ll get you later on. So, I feel it. I cried backstage.”

“Me and Eugene hugged it out and he told me, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.’ ”

” I express it, feel it, and I let it go. It’s a good way to release emotions. It relaxes you.”

“Just emotional … it’s a good way to release some emotions. What is it? Cortisol? Is it cortisol, or whatever, releases through tears as well. So, it relaxes you. It’s just a normal human function, I don’t know why we shame it.”

Adesanya added,

“[I was] upset at myself for what I wanted to do. People mistake it. This is not about other people. This is about me. I did the Undertaker walkout and I had this Miyamoto Musashi mentality like I’m going to make him wait, because I don’t think it’s going to last long. Then I get there, and I’m a little bit frustrated during the fight trying to figure out how to take this guy.”

“I’ve said it many times, his corner, wow, MMA Lab, beautiful, because they saved him. They’d see things I was setting up and call it and I’m just like, ‘F–k, OK, they can see that coming.’ So, they saved him a lot and he’s a good student for listening to them as well.”

“For me, it was just the pressure I put on myself because it was International Fight Week. “I’m like ‘Damn, I want to f—-ing take this to the next level after I smoke this guy.’ And I felt like I didn’t smoke this guy, but I beat him quite easily. Easily. So for me … it’s the expectations I put on myself, that’s what.”

He has also received guidance on how to handle the pressure from some extremely knowledgeable individuals. A recent video of Adesanya and the former Welterweight Georges St-Pierre showed GSP speaking to Adesanya on the mental toll combat sports impose on athletes and how to avoid becoming lost in the hype.