Marvin Vettori has finally admitted he let the occasion get the better of him as he comes to terms with his Israel Adesanya defeat.
Vettori, 27, came close to handing Adesanya, 31, his first professional loss in April 2018 but was beaten more decisively in the rematch three years later.
He faces Paulo Costa, 30, in his comeback fight this weekend in a battle between two of the world's best middleweights.
The second and fifth-ranked 185-pounders will meet at UFC Fight Night 196 on October 23.
Despite the result, Vettori took away a lot of positives from the fight, though he will be the first to admit that he got carried away by the cheers of the crowd at the Gila River Arena which left him wide open to The Last Stylebender.
"I took a lot of things from the fights [with Adesanya]," Vettori told MMA Junkie.
"It's funny because people try to tell you how you should look at things but it's really not [like that].
"I really feel like he was very smart in there, he was very smart, he fought a very smart fight.
He added: "With that being said, he wasn't better, he wasn't better at all in general. He wasn't like more skilled, he didn't have more cardio, he didn't have more like anything really. He was smart.
"He knew he was the champion. He didn't really want to engage with me in a lot of things, exchanges in general.
"One thing he was good at was he was able to play the crowd and almost be his own corner in a sense. He was able to see the situation a little bit more from the outside.
"I did a mistake, maybe because it was the first time in front of the crowd for a while, but that being said he used that to his advantage.
"Meanwhile, I didn't use it, or I almost let it play against me, and I did a mistake and I paid for it."
Vettori admits that he doesn't 'necessarily' like Costa, but that doesn't mean he dislikes him either.
In fact, he insisted he is simply treating Costa like any other opponent ahead of their crunch clash at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday.
“I don’t like the guy necessarily. He’s not a guy that I would get along with as a friend. He talked a bunch of s--- before, here and there," he said.
"But personally, I don’t know him. He never did anything to me too much that is personal. With that being said, I don’t need anything personal to beat somebody unconscious. I don’t need anything personal, especially to [deal with] the problem in the cage.
“I see it as, like, [my opponents] all have a part of what I want, regardless. Whoever gets in there is trying to stop me from getting what I want, so I don’t need to be mad to just mess up somebody’s face.”News Now - Sport News