Israel Adesanya, the former UFC middleweight champion, recently suffered a setback in his career. Following his unexpected loss to Sean Strickland at UFC 293 in Australia, Adesanya revealed his decision to take an extended break from fighting. In an interview on New Zealand’s “The Rock” radio show, Adesanya expressed his intention to prioritize self-care and put his fighting career on hold indefinitely. These revelations have left fans and experts speculating about the future of Adesanya’s UFC career.
Adesanya clarified that his decision was not synonymous with retirement but rather a necessary period of healing for his body. Over the course of 14 months, the two-time former champion engaged in an impressive four title fights, a feat that is almost unprecedented in the current landscape of the UFC. This relentless pace inevitably took a toll on Adesanya’s physical well-being, prompting him to prioritize self-restoration.
“The Last Style Bender,” as Adesanya is fondly known, has fought nine times since March 2020, all of which were title bouts. While he has had remarkable success, including five successful defenses of his middleweight title, the demanding nature of his fighting schedule has left him little time for recovery and self-improvement. Adesanya candidly admitted that he needed to make changes in his lifestyle to allow his body to adapt to the rigorous demands of professional fighting.
A Fighter Defined
Born in Nigeria and raised in New Zealand, Adesanya has undeniably cemented his position as one of the greatest middleweight fighters in the history of MMA. Throughout his career, Adesanya has captivated audiences with his skill, charisma, and relentless pursuit of greatness. His popularity has soared, and he has become one of the UFC’s most beloved stars.
An Uncertain Rematch
Initially, UFC president Dana White hinted at an immediate rematch between Adesanya and Strickland, who claimed the middleweight title as a significant underdog. However, Adesanya’s decision to step away from the octagon creates uncertainty regarding the timing and possibility of a rematch in the near future. Instead, the winner of the upcoming fight between Khamzat Chimaev and former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is likely to face Strickland in his first title defense.
Adesanya concluded the interview by promising a formidable return. With his sights set on healing, adapting, and evolving, he warned his opponents to “run for the hills” when he makes his comeback. This declaration showcases Adesanya’s unwavering determination and his unwavering belief in his abilities. Regardless of the outcome, Adesanya has achieved remarkable success in his UFC career, leaving an indelible mark on the sport.
In essence, Adesanya’s decision to step back from fighting serves as a testament to his self-awareness and dedication to self-improvement. As he embarks on a healing journey, Adesanya’s fans eagerly await his return, eager to witness another chapter in the captivating story of his UFC career. Only time will tell if his period of introspection and restoration will lead to a triumphant comeback or signal a shift in the trajectory of his fighting journey.