Israel Adesanya plans to retire from the UFC within five years as he prepares for his rematch with Alex Pereira.
The Nigerian star was defeated by long-term rival Pereira last year for the third time in his fighting career which saw him this time lose his UFC middleweight title. Now ‘The Last Stylebender’ faces a daunting task of overturning his defeat in a rematch with ‘Poatan’ on April 9 at UFC 287 in Miami.
Despite suffering defeat last time out, it was Adesanya’s first at 185lb since joining the UFC and there is still plenty left to accomplish if he is able to claw back his crown later this year. But the 33-year-old has insisted he will try to end his career on a high and wants to return to his status as the king of the division.
“I’ve been in the UFC five years, right?,” Adesanya said during a press conference in Australia when discussing his upcoming rematch with Pereira. “If I’m being honest, I’m not gonna be here in five years. I have other things to do in life. I love this s**t and I’m f***ing great at it but I never attach myself to this and I’m gonna leave on top.
“So yeah, that’s the place where I feel like you should leave. But again, I’ve been here five years in the UFC, [snaps fingers] it went like that. We’ll see how long I’m here for but I don’t think it’s gonna be five years.” Adesanya has now been with the promotion for over four years since making his debut with a win over Rob Wilkinson in 2018.
He has become a hugely popular figure on the roster and is currently the UFC’s second-highest paid fighter behind friend Conor McGregor. Adesanya will be hoping for a successful revenge mission this time out, having failed to overturn his two kickboxing defeats to the Brazilian after being stopped in the final round.
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Despite many calling for the former champion to take a rest before pursuing redemption, Adesanya has insisted taking time away from fighting is not in his nature. “I’m not one of these guys who just chills,” Adesanya told TheMacLife. “I can duck this guy or wait for this guy or wait for this guy to do this. Who’s ready to fight? I roll the dice. He’s got bragging rights.
“I got the opportunity to claim it back, but I’m going to say less and do more. After this fight, I bet you he’s going to move to 205lb. So, this is my shot, and this is why I’m putting everything into this. I’m the villain. I’m the guy – the underdog that he beat. I went to the UFC, he chased me, got me, beat me. So, this is my story now. This is my time for his story.”