A familiar opponent might require Israel Adesanya to break out some new tricks in their second go-around.
The reigning UFC middleweight champion has released the first episode of his “UFC 271 Fight Camp” series ahead of his rematch with former champion Robert Whittaker, which takes place on Feb. 12 at Toyota Center in Houston. In the clip, Adesanya trains at coach Carl Van Roon’s gym, where he practices with some fresh faces who allow him to try out some unorthodox techniques.
At one point, Adesanya breaks out a stylish capoeira kick that narrowly misses its target.
“There’s always more to learn,” Adesanya said in the video. “You can learn from anyone, from the young’ns because a lot of them — I’m sure most of them — look at me and think, ‘He’s a UFC champion. Stylebender. What can I possibly teach him?’ Trust, they can teach me a lot. And they’ve taught me a lot today already just watching the way even in the first drill the way they were snapping the kicks, I was like, ‘OK, I need to bring that back.’”
“Watching the way [Van Roon] fights, watching his old fights and the way he moves,” Adesanya added. “It kind of inspires me to want to do some more cool sh*t because I’m about the cool sh*t, I’m about the highlights and he’s a dangerous man.”
Adesanya’s upcoming title defense will be his second meeting with Whittaker. They first fought at UFC 243 in October 2019. Adesanya defeated Whittaker by second-round knockout to unify his interim title with Whittaker’s undisputed middleweight title.
Watch the full episode of UFC 271 Fight Camp above, which also features Adesanya hand-delivering merchandise to fans.