Marvin Vettori has wanted a rematch with current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya from the moment he lost to him in their first meeting. At UFC on FOX: Poirier vs. Gaethje in 2018, Vettori and Adesanya fought for three rounds, and at the end, the latter was declared the victor by way of split decision.
The loss to Adesanya is one Vettori has vehemently disagreed with, believing that he did enough to hand the future champion his first professional loss. With that scenario not playing out, Vettori moved on and has earned three wins over the likes of Cezar Ferreira, Andrew Sanchez and Karl Roberson, but he is still hoping for a shot at redemption against Adesanya.
“Me and Stylebender will definitely have to meet again and that I think is definitely the fight to make,” said Vettori during virtual media day on Thursday. “We had such a close fight the first time. I think I won. He thinks he won. Either way, it has to be run back and that’s fact. That will happen, so we’ll see.”
However, that rematch Vettori wants will have to wait for some time as both Vettori and Adesanya are preoccupied with other fights. Vettori is set to compete in his first UFC main event outing against his first top-five ranked opponent in Jack Hermansson this Saturday at UFC Vegas 16. Adesanya is preparing to move from middleweight to light heavyweight to challenge Jan Blachowicz for his title in 2021.
Vettori is unhappy with Adesanya’s decision to go to light heavyweight because he does not think his former opponent has totally proven himself.
“It’s bulls—t,” said Vettori. “I think its kind of bulls—t. I think this guy just thinks he’s too much. He just thinks he can do whatever he wants. To me, he still didn’t prove much. His last fight was good, but it was mainly like [Paulo] Costa beat his own self going into that fight. The fight before he barely — to my eyes was one of the worst title fights ever and he basically lost against Yoel Romero. So, it didn’t really prove much, but you know, the media are all over him.
“The main thing, to be honest, I think there’s not much of a great, hungry opposition in the top five at the moment. Look at Robert Whittaker just coming out of a win with Jared Cannonier, saying that he’s interested but really not. He’s just looking forward to enjoy Christmas, which is totally understandable. But man, it was like October, November. Of course, you can enjoy but at the same time, if you’re really about getting the title back, then you should be hungry for it. I think the No. 1 contenders [are] not that hungry anymore and strong, real opposition is not there. After Saturday, there will be. He better stay and not play around at light heavyweight and this and that, or stay and face me.”
If he were to get a second fight with Adesanya, then Vettori sees himself walking away with an official victory.
“I think I’ll beat him,” said Vettori. I think I’ll overwhelm him. These guys go in and they underestimate him somehow or they get over their head to go in overconfident. Adesanya is solid. You have to pressure him in the right way and I learned so much. I watched that fight not too long ago and I realized at that time I didn’t know so much compared to what he knew, especially in the standup and I still did so well just by instinct. Now that I see everything that he’s doing and I been studying him for a long time, it’s going to be a whole different game now.”
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