Joe Rogan thinks Israel Adesanya handled his UFC 281 stoppage loss to Alex Pereira like a true champion.
Pereira defeated Adesanya for the third time (2-0 in kickboxing) after stopping ‘The Last Stylebender’ with a vicious flurry of punches against the fence in the fifth and final round of the UFC 281 main event to become the new middleweight champion.
Adesanya handled the loss particularly well considering it was his first TKO loss in MMA and the first time he had lost the middleweight championship. Rogan credited the dethroned champ for showing up to the UFC 281 post-fight press conferences in defeat and making no excuses for his performance, claiming he handled ‘that loss better than anybody ever’.
“Dude, the way he responded to that loss is better than anybody ever,” Rogan said on his Joe Rogan Experience podcast (h/t MMA Fighting). “The dude shows up to the press conference with a f****** fur coat like a king. Dope-ass watch on and just says, ‘He got me.’ He basically said ‘the hunter is now the hunted, I’m coming after him, I’m going to find a way to beat that dude. I was on my way to beating him, and he got me.’
“He was honest about all of it. About how Pereira landed a bunch of calf kicks early on and f***** up his leg and he couldn’t move right. Those calf kicks have changed the game.”
Adesanya later revealed he was ‘disappointed’ with the stoppage but didn’t blame referee Marc Goddard for his decision. Some fighters feel the fight was stopped too early, but Rogan believes Goddard made the right call and saved Adesanya from unnecessary damage.
“I don’t think Pereira was going to stop,” Rogan said. “He had more time, ‘Izzy’ was stationary and Pereira was gonna hit him with some big shots. We don’t need to see ‘Izzy’ with his eyes rolled back behind his head flat out unconscious. I think it was a good stoppage.
“I could see where he’d be upset about it, too. I could see where other fights have gone on longer and they have, but it’s a subjective call and Marc Goddard is one of the very best in the world. He’s top 2 or 3, he might be No. 2, I think Herb Dean’s No. 1. He was saying ‘Bring back Steve Mazzagatti.’ (laughs) Then he went on Andrew Schulz’s podcast on Monday, they were drinking, having fun. He handled it very, very well.”
Following the fight, Adesanya called for an immediate rematch, claiming that Pereira won the battle but that he will win the war.
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