UFC 276: Israel Adesanya explains why Jared Cannonier is the dark horse of middleweight division

  • Tom Ward

Israel Adesanya has once again claimed that Jared Cannonier is the dark horse of the middleweight division.

The Last Stylebender will defend his 185lb belt against the Killa Gorilla early on Sunday morning in the main event of UFC 276 in Las Vegas.

Adesanya is the bookies’ odds-on favourite to win against ex-heavyweight Cannonier in an intriguing clash.

But Adesanya, who is currently riding a two-fight winning streak including victories over Robert Whittaker and Marvin Vettori, knows he cannot afford to underestimate Cannonier on Saturday night.

He said on his YouTube channel: “I feel like that he’s the guy that everyone was sleeping on even though he’s had a couple of losses.

“Who did he lose to? Rob and someone else I can’t remember. But yeah he’s the guy that’s been working his way up.

“I meant every word I said – you beat Brunson, you’re next in line, because I absolutely want some new blood. So yeah, he obliged, and so did I.

“I don’t think so. I mean I know the power is there and all that yeah but everyone has power. I don’t plan on being touched by anyone so it doesn’t really add anything extra for me. I’m not going to get touched by him.”

israel-adesanya-jared-cannonier-middleweight division
UFC champion Israel Adesanya believes Jared Cannonier is the dark horse of the middleweight division

Adesanya also revealed how he used to exchange text messages with Cannonier on social media a couple of years ago – but they are apparently no longer on speaking terms.

He added: “Yeah, a little bit, I can’t remember which fight it was at, I was sitting like a few rows in front of him.

“We were cordial, we were cool, but this fight I’m not being cordial and cool. I used to follow him, we exchanged pleasantries online, he responded to a few of my stories.

“Things changed after he started talking s**t. I took that personally. I don’t know, man.

“These people always act different around me. It’s weird. I think it’s just because it’s me, I feel like they have to change what they do.

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“I’m like just do what got you to the dance, the same advice I gave to Rob before the first fight, just do what got you to the dance.

“Why are you trying to be Mr Funny Guy? For me this one, that’s all I needed. That’s all I needed.

“I’m going to use him as an example. I love using people as examples. Like I feel like the Costa fight was the best version.

“That fight was legendary in my eyes and I don’t regret anything, I’m glad it happened the way it did on Fight Island, but if that was in front of like a T-Mobile crowd? That fight, the way it happened, just imagine how viral it would have been.

“But I don’t regret it I’m glad it happened the way it did because I got to hear his corner scream. I’m feeling that type of way for this fight as well.

“This guy thinks he’s actually got a shot and I just want to prove him wrong and I’ve just got to let him know there’s no chance in hell like all that s**t you’re thinking ‘I don’t give a f**k, who he is he’s human’.

“I am human and I’m going to show how much of a human I am compared to him.”

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