Adesanya ousted but 'not going anywhere' after Pereira stops UFC champion again

UFC

Israel Adesanya lost to Alex Pereira for a third time on Saturday, costing the UFC champion his middleweight belt, but he is already looking forward to a rematch.

Pereira is the only fighter ever to have stopped Adesanya, knocking him out in one of a pair of kickboxing wins.

And at UFC 281 at Madison Square Garden, the Brazilian repeated the trick, winning by TKO in the final round of a bout Adesanya had enjoyed the better of to that point.

Adesanya was not impressed by the stoppage, saying: "I'm grateful. What a life, what a moment.

"It's f***ing crazy, isn't it? It's similar to the last time – same story. It's crazy. I was fine, I was still lucid, but s*** happens.

"I talked to my coaches, and I trust them, but I was fine. I could see everything. My eyes might have rolled back a little bit, but I was lucid."

It was only a second UFC defeat for Adesanya and his first at middleweight, where he had been champion since 2019. Pereira only entered the UFC for the first time last November.

But Adesanya accepts the risk of defeat as part of the role as champion, replying when asked if he would be pursuing a rematch: "Of course, of course. Come on, man.

"This was my third fight in 10 months. Every time I fight, I risk losing what you guys deem as the prestigious belt.

"I put it on the line because I'm not trying to just fight once and then chill, do my lap around and parade as a champion and not risk so much.

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

Adesanya referred to Leonardo DiCaprio's portrayal of Jordan Belford in The Wolf of Wall Street as he added: "'I'm not f***ing leaving'. Yeah, I'm still right here. I'm not going anywhere."