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I like testing myself - UFC champ Israel Adesanya eyeing LHW return, heavyweight run

Ahead of his middleweight title fight at UFC 281, Israel Adesanya is already looking at future plans.

The only loss on Israel Adesanya’s professional MMA record was at the hands of Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 last year. The two faced off for Blachowicz’s light heavyweight title at the time, as he successfully defended it via decision.

“The Last Stylebender” has since defended the middleweight title a total of three times, with a potential fourth straight win this Saturday at UFC 281 against Alex Pereira. But even with his tall task at hand, it didn’t stop him from looking into the future, which apparently involves jumping up in weight classes.

“I’ll lap the division again. Then I’ll go back up at some point, just for my own… maybe a little bit of ego. But just ‘cause I can do it,” Adesanya told reporters during the pre-fight media day on Wednesday.

“I see 205ers walking around, I’m just like, ‘Huh.’ And everyone that sees me, the first thing they say ‘Oh my god, you’re so bigger, you’re so much bigger…’

But Adesanya says he’s not exactly looking for title fights if he does move up in weight again.

“It doesn’t have to be for the belt. Right now, the other Paradigm guy Jiri’s got the belt, so let him do his thing. I just like testing myself. Again, there’s heavyweight.

“I’m not saying I can beat every 205 guy or every f—ng heavyweight. But they’ll have problems with me. There’ll be times when Eugene might say ‘Take that guy out.’ And I’m like, ‘Who? What? Alright, bet.’ And I’ll take him out.”

Adesanya and Pereira will headline UFC 281 this weekend, which happens at Madison Square Garden.

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Official UFC 281 Fight Poster

LIVE STREAM UFC 281 PPV ON ESPN+ HERE!

BLOCKBUSTER TWO TITLE-FIGHT SHOWDOWN! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to MSG (Madison Square Garden) in NYC, NY, on Sat. NOV. 12, 2022, with a must-see thriller that will see perennial fan favorite, No. 1 ranked Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya (23-1), battle No. 3 division ranked contender, Alex ‘Poatan’ Pereira (6-1), for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Meanwhile, in UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, we get the current and two-time UFC Strawweight Champion, Carla ‘The Cookie Monster’ Esparza (19-6), defending her title opposite Zhang Weili (22-3). These bouts will be preceded by an exciting Lightweight barnburner between Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier and ‘Iron’ Michael Chandler, in a must-see barnburner.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!