UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is looking to “dream even bigger” when he faces Sean Strickland at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia.

This Saturday night at UFC 293, the champion returns to the cage after his stunning win over arch-rival Alex Pereira in Florida earlier this year. After suffering the first defeat of his middleweight career to the Brazilian knockout artist, Adesanya picked up his challenger and secured an emphatic victory.

Adesanya landed a powerful right hand, followed by a hammerfist while stopping “Poatan,” to regain his middleweight title at UFC 287 in April.

Nigerian-born Adesanya, who lives in New Zealand, has had a long-standing rivalry with Pereira, having lost two previous kickboxing matches against the same opponent by knockout.

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Watch Israel Adesanya receive a hero’s welcome from fans as they perform the haka in Auckland

“Experiences like this shape you,” Adesanya said. Sky Sports. “Experiences in general shape your personality. But those experiences are really extreme.

“I lost in one of the biggest theaters in the world, Madison Square Garden in New York [against Pereira in the UFC]And I’m fine.

“The final moment where I shocked the world, and then the people who really love me felt the joy I was talking about in that moment because I was sharing it with the world.

“That was something. Those moments are what shape you, not just because of the fights themselves, but because of what you had to go through to get to those fights.”

Adesanya was visibly emotional after his win over Pereira, but insisted that it does not play a big role in his success in mixed martial arts.

“There is more to life than fighting,” he said. “That’s what it is for me. I think that’s what actually helps me deal with the loss in November. I’ve had bigger losses in my life. This is nothing.”

Now, he returns to his own ocean territory to continue his dominance in the division.

Sean Strickland
Sean Strickland has once again propelled himself into title contention

Sean Strickland stands on the other side of the octagon in Sydney. The American won six fights in a row since 2018, until he met Pereira himself, where he suffered a devastating first-round technical knockout loss. This was followed by a split decision loss to former title challenger Jared Cannonier in December. But since then, the 32-year-old has recorded impressive victories over Nasredin Imavov and Aposyan Magomedov.

Strickland comes in as a surprise challenger for Adesanya, as No. 1 contender Dricus du Plessis is on track to land a highly anticipated fight against ‘Stylebender’, following a huge stoppage win over former champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 290 in July. But the South African has been ruled out with a foot injury, so the exciting brawler from California gets the chance of a lifetime in Sydney.

When asked about his mindset for his next title defense, Adesanya said: “This is a violent game, so you need a little bit of darkness to get through it. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in martial arts. Fighters are ‘I try to take the things I’ve worked on throughout my life. I must be bad with this person. “I have to take advantage of this darkness a little.”

Known for his brash personality, Strickland often comes under scrutiny for some of his outlandish comments, but Adesanya is up for it.

“I’ve had the guy behind the scenes a few times, between me and him, and he knows,” Adesanya said.

“In front of people, he likes to show off, but then behind the scenes, he calms down again. I know who he is and it will be just me and him in this cage.”

“His fans are looking forward to the press conference because that will be the most entertaining part of the fight for them because they know they are about to watch this boy cheer.”

Prior to Pereira’s knockout, Adesanya received criticism for not seeking a stoppage, as he had reeled off three straight wins via decision.

Israel Adesanya
Adesanya vowed a landslide victory

But the champion is certain of his decisive victory on Saturday evening, either by knockout or submission

He said: “I want to knock him out. I’ll beat him up. It’s not arrogance, it’s nothing. It’s just one plus one equals two. I’ll beat up Sean Strickland. It’s that simple.” .

If he makes it past Strickland, Adesanya will have big plans next year, both inside and outside the cage. “2024, just running through people, keeping the belt, taking names, getting money, traveling. I have bigger dreams than this.

“This is one of my biggest dreams that I’ve achieved, and I still love it. There are bigger dreams than fighting. It’s not just about the belts or the money. There are certain things I want to do in this game that I still have. “It’s not achieved. You guys are focused on the UFC itself as a whole. I am the first player. I play a different game. I do side quests and unlock achievements.”

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