Brad Tavares and UFC Interim Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya met in the main event of the UFC Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale, with Adesanya scoring a unanimous decision win on that night.
A defeated Tavares knows that if he can get another shot at the interim middleweight champion, a result would be a victory for the Hawaiian.
“Put it this way: I went into that fight and I tried to box, just straight-up box, a badass professional kickboxer – a guy who’s been doing it years and has multiple fights,” Tavares said to MMA Junkie. “What does he have, like 80-something kickboxing fights? And he’s probably lost only like two, three? I don’t know. I know he has some crazy record, though. That’s the thing, I look at that fight and I’m like, ‘Hey, there’s things that – I know what went wrong there.’ And I’m not going to sit here and use my foot being broken as an excuse, you know. I tried to actually kick in that fight. I kicked him in his leg one time and my foot instantly blew up, swole up. I knew that, when I put it back down, I was like, ‘If I kick again there’s a chance that I can’t even stand on it.’ So kicking with the right leg is out of the question. And, for me, leg kicks and my kicks are one of the biggest parts of my game. But I was like, ‘You know what, let’s get through this, though. Let’s go box this guy.’ And didn’t end up working out in my favor. But, like you said, it makes me excited. Because I know I can beat that guy. I know what it takes and what I need to do to beat that guy, and he’s a champion now.”
Tavares hasn’t fought since that loss, while Adesanya would go onto capture the UFC Interim Middleweight Title at UFC 236.
The middleweight contender is also willing to do whatever it takes to get a shot at the 185 pound strap.
“That’s the main goal: it’s that strap around your waist,” Tavares said. “That title, so, whatever fight gets me there.”
Adesanya will face UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker next, putting Tavares’ dreams for a potential rematch on hold for the time being.