Israel Adesanya is best known for his deadly striking arsenal. But the reigning UFC middleweight champion would love the opportunity to show what he can do on the ground.
With a potential showdown looming against UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in 2021, Adesanya is anxious to prove he’s more than just a one-trick pony.
While he’s currently sporting an undefeated record with four of his nine wins in the UFC coming by way of knockout or TKO, Adesanya definitely has more tools than he’s been forced to show so far.
In fact, “The Last Stylebender” would love the opportunity to apply his grappling game. There’s just one problem — nobody is trying very hard to take him down.
“I hope they start shooting on me more cause I want to choke somebody out,” Adesanya told MMA Fighting recently. “I mean people were shooting on me at the beginning of my UFC career, and then they realized, ‘We can’t be doing that, f**k it let’s strike, oh we can’t do that [either].’”
In the UFC, Adesanya currently has the second-best marks for takedown defense in the history of the middleweight division, stopping 85.7 percent of his opponents’ attempts. Two fights ago when he faced off with Olympic freestyle wrestling silver medalist Yoel Romero at UFC 248, he thwarted three takedown attempts over five rounds.
In the fight where Adesanya became interim champion, Kelvin Gastelum managed to take him down just once over nine attempts. Adesanya ultimately won that fight by unanimous decision.
“They should go back to shooting on me again, cause I’ve got some tricks that I want to use,” Adesanya said.
Of course if the middleweight champion is planning a move up to 205 pounds, he’ll be facing bigger and stronger opponents. But he doesn’t seem too concerned.
Adesnaya said he won’t change much in terms of his preparation or training in order to get ready for a light heavyweight fight.
“Perfectly honest with you, nothing changes,” Adesanya said. “Just keep doing what we’ve always done, which is get better everyday. There’s nothing that’s going to change in regards to that.”
Whether it’s Jan Blachowicz, Jon Jones or any of the other fighters who want to challenge him at light heavyweight, Adesanya promises the results will still remain the same.
“Same sh*t,” he said. “Go in there, establish my dominance, my range, my energy and pick them apart until they fall – or they get slept.”