UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has already defeated the man who is attempting to take his title from him this weekend but says that he is seeking the type of comprehensive win which might evaporate any hopes of Marvin Vettori securing another title shot in the future.
Adesanya defeated Vettori by split decision early in his UFC career but is set to do battle against him once more in this weekend’s UFC 263 headliner in a fight which comes amid a prolonged verbal exchange between the two middleweights.
But as Adesanya told TheMacLife, Vettori’s bark wasn’t so loud when they came face-to-face this week in the fighter hotel.
“I went downstairs and I had a feeling something was going to happen, so I told my brother ‘get down here’ when I was on the elevator. I get downstairs and I see the security get tense. I look to my right and I see Leon Edwards and I see that Marvin’s on the other side.
“I waved at him and he looked petrified. He kept on looking back and then I told Steve [UFC security] that I’m not going to do nothing to him. He’s not going to do shit either, and then I got my Covid test and I went to go check in and he happened to be right there. I walked up to him and I shook his hand like I did with Costa.
“People think this is a game. It’s not a game. This is the tactics of war. I understand this game: warfare. I went and shook his hand and same thing like I said in Vegas, he’s all smiley-smiley… and you know why? He didn’t have his crew with him. If it was me by myself and he had his mob with him, I would have kept the same energy. I’m a civil guy, when the time for comes I’ll take that.”
And, as Adesanya explained, the reason that he is fighting Vettori this weekend is because his rival (and former champion) Robert Whittaker was unable to sign a bout agreement.
“It’s because Rob didn’t take it. They both wanted September/October and I was like, who’s going to step up to June? He stepped up, so kudos to him for doing that. He had to grab… clutch at straws even and I was reluctant at first but I saw Usman do work on an immediate rematch for homeboy [Masvidal]. I’m inspired now. I want to take this guy out. I want to shut him down. Completely shut out.”