Israel Adesanya recently spoke candidly about his unexpected defeat against Sean Strickland.
Most people anticipated that Adesanya would win the UFC 293 main event on September 9 and retain his middleweight belt. However, the combination of Eric Nicksick’s coaching and Strickland’s strategy led to one of the greatest upsets in MMA history.
Shortly after the match, Israel Adesanya made a brief appearance at the press conference after the match. Since then, the MMA community has been anticipating the former middleweight champion’s response.
It wasn’t until recently that the former middleweight champion addressed his historic loss in a candid video on his YouTube channel. Adesanya vividly described the experience, likening it to a surreal bad dream.
He said: “Like a bad dream. One of those where you, not even a nightmare. A nightmare is like, ‘Oh sh*t. F*ck.’ A nightmare, you’re scared. I was just like, you try to hit the guy, and it just felt like noodle arms. Like, ‘What the f*ck.’ It just felt like a bad dream.”
In March 2021, Adesanya embarked on a quest to become a two-division UFC champion. He competed against Jan Blachowicz in the UFC 259 main event but fell short, succumbing to a unanimous decision. Since his return to the middleweight division, Adesanya has engaged in six matches. He emerged victorious in four, with defeats against Strickland and Alex Pereira.
During this stretch, he clinched title bout victories against formidable opponents such as Marvin Vettori, Robert Whittaker, Jared Cannonier, and Alex Pereira.
Sean Strickland’s astounding performance at UFC 293 earned him well-deserved accolades. Equally deserving of praise is Eric Nicksick, the head coach of Xtreme Couture whose strategic guidance played a pivotal role in the upset victory.
In his reaction video, Adesanya acknowledged Nicksick’s influence: “I just wasn’t able to get my rhythm because of his pressure. He was right there constantly. Whenever I was setting him up, because he was right there, his coach would help him out, and I would be like, ‘F*ck.’ Good game plan from them, but also for me, I wasn’t able to adjust on the fly.”
A fervent debate ensues regarding whether Israel Adesanya should be granted an immediate rematch against Sean Strickland. On on hand, Adesanya served as the division’s public face. On the other hand, Strickland won the UFC 293 main event via decision.
Ultimately, the decision rests with the UFC as they determine the contender for the next middleweight title bout.