UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker has stated in the past that Adesanya may not be as good as the fighter thinks, but Adesanya wants to show Whittaker that he is better than the champ thinks.
“I don’t think of those comments and it doesn’t affect me in any way,” Adesanya said on Submission Radio (via Jed Meshew of MMA Fighting). “I mean, when the time comes, when I have the mic in my hand, I’m saying my thing. I’ll say, he thinks I’m not as good as I think I am, I’ll show him I’m greater than I think I am. So, they all can talk, they all have something to say until they’re in front of me, and they get chin checked.”
Whittaker is out of action at this time after getting emergency surgery to repair a severe abdominal issue.
Adesanya does care about becoming the middleweight champion, but also cares more about the experience of being a title holder.
“A lot of people say they don’t care about the belt, but that’s not true,” Adesanya said. “For me, when I say it, I really mean that. But I care about it in a way like I care about my jewelry. It looks really nice, and also what it signifies, as well as being the best in the world. But I’ll tell you what, I’ve known a few fighters in the past who I’ve considered to be the best in the world who’ve never had a belt. And the belt’s not always a good judgment on who the best fighter actually is. So yeah, for me, the belt is more like me living what I’ve dreamed in my head, me actually getting it done. And then it’s like, ‘and new’, Dana puts the belt around your waist, and that moment will be cool. But I won’t feel any different. Rashad Evans said it best. He said, after he won the belt at UFC 92 against Forrest Griffin, after he won the belt he expected to feel different, but he never did. And I already kind of know that about myself. Like, it’s not gonna be any different.”
UFC 236 takes place on Saturday, April 13 from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia with Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.