Israel Adesanya needed to grease only one palm to get himself a special audience with UFC executives.
This past Friday in The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale’s main event, Adesanya (14-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) found himself in the private room of a Las Vegas club with UFC President Dana White and matchmaker Mick Maynard after his knockout win over Brad Tavares (17-5 MMA, 12- 5 UFC).
It was there that the up-and-coming middleweight got “properly” introduced to White and talked about his career. Turns out, the two had different ideas on what was best for his next move.
“After my fight I just went to my hotel room and chilled with my boys, but after Dan (Hooker’s) fight, I went out,” Adesanya told the “JRE MMA Show.” “Someone told me, ‘Dana’s in this club.’ I said, ‘Oh, cool. Thanks.’ When I got some money, the guy just led me. When he found out I was a UFC fighter, he just led me to the private room.
“I see Mick Maynard, and I’m like, ‘What the hell?’ Then we just start yarning. I see some people. He said, ‘I’ll introduce you to Dana.’ I finally met Dana properly, and we start talking. I dropped his name in there like, ‘Yeah, I want to fight (Paulo Costa) next.’ But they have other ideas. Fair enough. They’ve done this a long time. They’re promoters.
“What they want is me being a bigger name, Paulo being a bigger name, and we fight like in some super fight. I can see why (they want) that. But for me, I want to take him out now. He just knocked out Uriah Hall, who was talking mad (expletive), as well. I want to take him out now before we fight again. We’ll probably fight more than once. We’ll see what happens and how long his UFC career lasts, but I think he’ll probably fight with me and we’ll probably fight more than once.”
As you might expect, Adesanya wasn’t overly impressed with Costa’s (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) knockout win over Hall (13-9 MMA, 6-7 UFC) on the FS1-televised prelims of this past Saturday’s UFC 226 event.
“That was just a brawl,” he said. “Like a technical brawl. He comes forward. His footwork. Uriah Hall, I was watching him like, ‘Why are you right there?’ It’s easy to look good against someone who just sits there like a punching bag.”
Of course, Adesanya is no great fan of Hall (13-9 MMA, 6-7 UFC), whom he blasted backstage after his win.
The up-and-comer simply wants the respect he would give any other fighter. He scoffs at Costa’s (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) recent claim not to know him.
“I stood next to him,” Adesanya. “He iced me. He’s trying to act like he doesn’t know who I am. I saw interviews like, ‘I do not know that guy.’ I’m like, ‘Bro, you know the (expletive) I am now.’ I said that after my first fight.
“These guys want to pretend. I don’t know where it comes from. Maybe it’s just years of not being noticed. A lot of guys, they’ll creep on my Instagram then they’ll see me in real life, and they’ll act all high and mighty. I’m a nice guy. I like to be friendly. I like to hug people and say, ‘What’s up?’ I know who you are. You know who I am. Some people flex too much. He knows who I am, and his manager, the (expletive) gremlin.”
In the end, Adesanya attributes much of what Costa says to a manager eager to serve his client’s fight game interests.
“Respect (to Wallid Ismail),” he said. “He’s the guy that I think talks for Paulo a lot. Respect to him for trying to learn English, as well. That’s why I really wanted Uriah Hall to win because he was talking all this (expletive).
“I want to build that fight (with Costa) up. It would be fun because I would (expletive) him up. There are holes in his game. He gets hit, easily. Even though Uriah was tapping him with the jab – if I was behind that jab, it would be different setups. It would be a different setup. Uriah was hitting the jab, but that’s it. After you get hit the jab seven times, you have to do something else with it. You can’t just keep jabbing him and jabbing him. He didn’t respect his jab. He’ll respect my jab.”
That is, if and when they meet. Sounds like Adesanya has some important people he needs to convince.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Israel Adesanya properly meets Dana White, learns Paulo Costa may not be next