Israel Adesanya issues first statement after losing belt to Sean Strickland at UFC 293

Israel Adesanya didn't really want to speak to the media after his UFC 293 loss to Sean Strickland.

By: Anton Tabuena | 2 weeks ago

Israel Adesanya has won eight UFC title fights, and was the massive favorite heading into UFC 293, but Sean Strickland pulled a rabbit out of the hat and scored a massive upset.

Strickland pressured well and outboxed Adesanya by the fence, winning a pretty wide decision to become the new UFC champion. It was a huge upset that left a lot of fighters watching, and even Strickland himself speechless.

Perhaps the now former champion was as well. After the shocking upset loss, Adesanya didn’t have a post-fight interview in the cage. He also decided not to speak much with the media at the UFC 293 post-fight press conference.

Israel Adesanya issues brief statement on loss to Sean Strickland

UFC 293 SYDNEY PREVIEW, UFC Middleweight world title holder Israel Adesanya during a media preview for UFC 293, Hilton Sydney, in Sydney, Wednesday, September 6, 2023. ( !ACHTUNG: NUR REDAKTIONELLE NUTZUNG, KEINE ARCHIVIERUNG UND KEINE BUCHNUTZUNG! SYDNEY NSW AUSTRALIA PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxAUSxNZLxPNGxFIJxVANxSOLxTGA Copyright: xDEANxLEWINSx 20230906001838538035
IMAGO / AAP / DEAN LEWINS

Adesanya didn’t stay long at the press conference at all, only issuing a very brief statement.

“Pause. I had a different plan for this, but life throws curved balls 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 be with the people that care about me, my team, and they’re waiting for me, so I’m going to do that,” he said.

Afterwards, Adesanya quickly left and just handed it over to his coach Eugene Bareman.

“This is our team. This is how we do it. He wants to be protected, that’s our job to protect him,” Bareman said about stepping in to speak to the media on Adesanya’s behalf. “He is in a time of need right now.”

Israel Adesanya says “I got to put me first”

Win or lose, there’s always a lot of emotions involved in the lead up and the aftermath of fighting that people don’t usually get to see. In a brief Instagram post, Adesanya alluded to him prioritizing his needs after the tough loss.

“I’m still thriving. It’s all good. I hate losing, but I love living,” Adesanya said. “I’m hanging out with my family first, then I’ll address the people. But right now, I got to put me first.”

Israel Adesanya loses belt for second time

After UFC 293, Israel Adesanya’s MMA record dropped to 24-3, while Sean Strickland improved to 28-5.

Adesanya is unquestionably one of the most decorated middleweights of all time, but this loss now marks his second loss in his last three fights.

After he lost badly to Alex Pereira, he rebounded in a big way to knockout his long term rival and win his belt back in the rematch after. It’ll be interesting to see how UFC handles the matchmaking now that Sean Strickland is the champion, and if Adesanya can once again get back on the horse and continue his incredible run in the division.

UFC 293 SYDNEY, Sean Strickland of the USA reacts after defeating Israel Adesanya of Nigeria during the Middleweight Title bout of UFC 293 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Sunday, September 10, 2023. ( !ACHTUNG: NUR REDAKTIONELLE NUTZUNG, KEINE ARCHIVIERUNG UND KEINE BUCHNUTZUNG! SYDNEY NEW SOUTH WALES AUSTRALIA PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxAUSxNZLxPNGxFIJxVANxSOLxTGA Copyright: xDANxHIMBRECHTSx 20230910001839941331
AAP / IMAGO / DAN HIMBRECHTS

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About the author
Anton Tabuena
Anton Tabuena

Anton Tabuena is the Managing Editor for Bloody Elbow. He’s been covering MMA and combat sports since 2009, and has also fought in MMA, Muay Thai and kickboxing.

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