It was a tough night for Adesanya, who lost a unanimous decision to Sean Strickland in the main event, which cost him the UFC middleweight title. Adesanya suffered a knockdown in the opening round that could have easily led to a stoppage but he survived the onslaught to make it through all five rounds.
Unfortunately, Adesanya never really settled into a rhythm and Strickland attacked him with the perfect game plan to earn the victory and claim the UFC middleweight title.
Afterwards, Adesanya paid homage to Strickland for his victory and then explained that he wanted to leave to spend time with his loved ones.
“I had a different plan for this but again life throws curveballs at you,” Adesanya said. “Win or lose, I wasn’t going to say much anyway but right now, I lost tonight to the better man on the night. I just want to go and be with people who care about me — my team and they’re waiting for me so I’m going to do that.
“But I will leave you in the capable hands of a man who is much smarter than me, I’ll admit this on worldwide national media, I’ll leave you with Eugene Bareman. He’ll handle this for the first time. I want to go chill, have some breakfast, build my family and till next time.”
Adesanya also posted a video afterwards on social media where he showed the damage he absorbed during the fight with Strickland while saying “it’s not that bad, nothing broken, a little touched up.”
“Still thriving, it’s all good, “Adesanya said. “I hate losing but I love living and I’m thriving. I’ll address the people but right now, I’ve got to put me first.”
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) September 10, 2023
I hate loosing, but I love living. What a life‼️ pic.twitter.com/PQ6R0YwZ56
Bareman added context that while Adesanya lost his title, three of his teammates from City Kickboxing earned victories at UFC 293 and they all wanted to celebrate together.
The loss dropped Adesanya to 1-2 in his past three fights after he engaged in a pair of battles with longtime rival Alex Pereira in back-to-back matchups. Adesanya suffered a knockout loss in their first encounter in the UFC before bouncing back to return the favor to Pereira in the rematch in April.
He was then expected to face Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 293 but the South African fighter was unable to compete with a foot injury suffered in his win over ex-middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in July.
That led to Strickland getting the title shot and he certainly made the most of his opportunity by nearly blanking Adesanya during the 25 minute affair.
Now Adesanya will pick up the pieces and look to regroup before making his return to action in the UFC.