Rising middleweight prospect Israel Adesanya has a fight purse that exceeds six-figures when combining his base and win money, and in just his third appearance inside the Octagon, he’ll be set for his first UFC main event.
Adesanya is scheduled for a July 6th showdown with veteran Brad Tavares at The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale, and a win for “The Last Stylebender” would almost certainly see him break the top-10 in the UFC’s divisional rankings. The 28-year-old is coming off a unanimous decision win over the unranked Marvin Vettori, but in a recent interview with MMA Fighting, he believes Tavares won’t be much of a problem for him.
“I’m not looking past what’s-his-name,” Adesanya said. “Sorry, I had a brain fart — I’m not looking past Brad. They say to never underestimate anyone, but they don’t tell you to overestimate people either, so I’m just going to do me. Each guy is just another person that’s in the way. I have to plot my path to greatness. I don’t just think about the belt, I think past the belt. I’m far beyond all of that.
“To be honest, Brad is going to be easier than my last fight. In my last fight I was able to read him on the fly, but Brad is a book that I’ve read so many times. It’s a test that I’ve passed many times. I really don’t see that being a tough fight for me.”
The flashy, powerful striker certainly isn’t low on confidence, and he has his sights set on facing the winner of Uriah Hall and Paulo Henrique Costa, who will square off at UFC 226 on the day after Adesanya vs. Tavares. It seems as if Adesanya has a bone to pick with Uriah.
“Uriah Hall, you ever play that game Tekken where you just button bash? I always think that’s what he looks like. He’s just button bashing and hoping something cool will come out of it.”
“Someone sent me a few screenshots of some sh-t he was saying on Instagram recently. The guy is using my lines and he’s trying to take my clout. He’s a clout chaser, he’s an Instagram whore. After this fight, if he wins his fight, then I’ll make him famous.”
The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale airs live on Fox Sports 1, starting at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.