Israel Adesanya appeared in good spirits at his post-fight press conference following his knockout loss to Alex Pereira at UFC 281 last night.
The legendary middleweight champion had never lost at his preferred weight class of 185lb, and hadn't been stopped once in his career prior to facing Pereira. And despite dominating most of the contest, he was unable to banish the demons of their two kickboxing meetings as he was knocked out in the fifth round.
Pereira had previously stopped Adesanya in the ring during a rematch of their first bout, which the Brazilian won by way of a controversial decision. And lightning struck twice as he came from behind to land a phenomenal upset victory and get rid of his rival with a thundering late stoppage.
And speaking at a press conference after the fight, Adesanya told reporters: "I'm grateful. What a life, what a moment, f***ing crazy, isn't it? Similar to the last time, same story, it's crazy. I was fine, first thing I said to the ref was 'I'm fine' because I was still lucid, still in there and I was fine, but s*** happens.
"I talked to my coaches and I trust them, but I was fine, I could see everything that was happening. My eyes might have rolled into the back of my head a little bit but I was lucid. I'm grateful, I'm proud, my team's proud of me and respectfully, f*** all this s***, f*** everybody else, it's all about my team.
Do you believe that Israel Adesanya should get an immediate rematch with Alex Pereira? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!
"This is my third fight in ten months, every time I fight I risk losing what you guys deem as a prestigious, which it is, the belt. But it is, I put it all on the line because I'm not trying to just fight once and then chill, do my lap around and parade as a champion and not risk so much. I put it all on the line and this is what happens. Dare to be great, and I am."
Adesanya is keen to get an immediate rematch for the belt, given that he had such a lengthy and memorable run as champion. He also holds wins over most of the other top contenders in his division, including multiple wins over the likes of Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori.
"I know what I can do," he added. "The fight was going my way, he hit my perineal nerve, so that's why my footwork was compromised. Even when I tripped and did the backwards rolly-polly it was because I was like 's*** I just tripped over' which is not like me. Kudos to him for investing in those calf kicks because it cost me."