‘I’ll be back’: Adesanya opens up on health issues after losing title

    By Christopher Reive in New York

    Israel Adesanya’s rivalry with Alex Pereira is not over yet, but the former UFC middleweight champion will take some time to address his own health before stepping into a rematch.

    Yesterday, Adesanya lost his UFC middleweight title to Brazil’s Pereira at UFC 281 in New York, losing by TKO in the final round of a fight he had controlled for four rounds.

    It was his first loss in the UFC middleweight division, ending a 12-fight winning streak in the weight class, while he had been a dominant champion.

    When asked about the potential of a rematch against Pereira to try a get his belt back, Adesanya said he was absolutely going to be asking for it, but had more important matters to address first.

    “I don’t disclose everything. I’ve had some stuff, some medical stuff, that I’ve just put on the backburner, even stuff people make fun of me for,” Adesanya said. “I’ve just got to look after myself, because my health comes first.

    “I’ve got some things to fix first, but I’ll be back.”

    It is uncertain what sort of timeframe Adesanya would be looking at for his return, given he did not elaborate on his comments, however when he does, it will likely be to the most anticipated middleweight bout for some time in a rematch against Pereira.

    At Madison Square Garden, the fight played out to a similar plot. As was the case in their last fight — a kickboxing bout in 2017 — Adesanya was getting the better of the action and had Pereira wobbled early in the fight, but his Brazilian counterpart stopped him in the final round.

    But when asked what he was feeling in the post-fight press conference, Adesanya carried himself with the same energy he has done through his wins.

    “I’m grateful,” he said. “What a life, what a moment. It’s crazy isn’t it? Similar to the last time; the same story. It’s crazy.

    “I put it on the line, and this is what happens. Dare to be great, and I am.”

    While Adesanya headlined the card, three other Kiwis were among the action at the famed venue. While lightweight Brad Riddell also ended the night with a loss, fellow lightweight Dan Hooker and light heavyweight Carlos Ulberg took their moments and both won by stoppage; Ulberg in the first round and Hooker in the second.

    So while Adesanya was disappointed not to get the win, he was happy to step back and look at the bigger picture.

    “It’s not frustrating,” he said of his result. “I’m just happy to be here, happy my team is fine. Look what we did today. It’s beautiful.

    “What a life.”

    This content was originally published here.

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