BREAKING: Israel Adesanya Takes Long Break From #UFC After #Strickland Defeat—-Former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is stepping away from MMA for an extended period of time after losing his title to Sean Strickland in September.
“I’m going to take time to look after myself, and I’m not going to fight for a long time,” Adesanya said earlier this week on “The Rock,” a New Zealand radio show. “I’m definitely not going to retire because I know me – I’m not leaving like that. I know me.
“But if I did, I’m fine. I don’t need to prove anything else. But I know what I can do, and I know what I can change in my lifestyle to make my body adapt to where I need to be. So I’m going to heal myself up. You won’t see me fight for a long time.”
Adesanya had been one of the most active champions in the UFC, competing in five title fights since the beginning of 2022.
“The Last Stylebender” suffered a shocking unanimous decision loss to Strickland at UFC 293 last month. Just months before that, Adesanya regained the 185-pound belt by knocking out Alex Pereira in April. The Nigerian-born New Zealander dropped the title to Pereira in a fifth-round knockout loss last November after five straight successful defenses during his first reign.
Adesanya said constantly being in the gym caught up to him.
“It’s not just the fights, it’s the training and everything,” Adesanya said. “I had injuries going into the Pereira fight.”
Adesanya pleaded guilty to a drunk driving charge in late September in New Zealand. The incident occurred Aug. 19, just weeks before the Strickland fight.
After Strickland beat Adesanya, UFC president Dana White said he wanted to book a rematch. But White said earlier this week the winner of the UFC 294 bout between Kamaru Usman and Khamzat Chimaev will get the next crack at Strickland instead.
Adesanya said he could’ve fought Strickland again but opted against it.
“When I come back, f—–g run for the hills,” Adesanya said.