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Israel Adesanya reveals he cried backstage after harshly critiqued UFC 276 performance

Israel Adesanya talks about his emotional state after his UFC 276 performance that left many people dissatisfied.

Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier during their UFC 276 title fight in July.
Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier during their UFC 276 title fight in July.
Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya drew some flak for his UFC 276 performance against Jared Cannonier. While he did pick up the victory, how he did so didn’t sit well with many, including actor Chris Pratt who wasn’t a fan of Adesanya’s “pitter-patter” approach that night.

Four months later, “The Last Stylebender” is speaking out about his post-fight emotional state. As he told Ariel Helwani in a recent appearance on the MMA Hour, it even came to a point where he broke down in tears.

“I cried backstage. Me and [coach] Eugene [Bareman] hugged it out and he told me, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.’ I was like, ‘Just give me a bourbon, I’ll be fine.’ So I expressed it, feel it, and I let it go. It’s a good way to release emotions… it relaxes you. It’s just a normal human function, I don’t know why we shame it.”

Adesanya later admitted that he may have put too much pressure on himself which caused him to be extra emotional.

“[I was] upset at myself for what I wanted to do. People mistake it. This is not about other people. This is about me. I did the Undertaker walkout and I had this Miyamoto Musashi mentality like I’m going to make him wait, because I don’t think it’s going to last long.

“Then I get there and I’m a little bit frustrated during the fight trying to figure out how to take this guy. I’ve said it many times, his corner, wow, MMA Lab beautiful, because they saved him.

“They’d see things I was setting up and call it and I’m just like, ‘F–k, OK, they can see that coming.’ So they saved him a lot and he’s a good student for listening to them as well.

“For me, it was just the pressure I put on myself because it was International Fight Week. I’m like, ‘Damn, I want to f–ng take this to the next level after I smoke this guy.’

“And I felt like I didn’t smoke this guy, but I beat him quite easily. Easily. So for me, it’s the expectations I put on myself, that’s what.”

Adesanya will defend the UFC middleweight title for the sixth time this Saturday at UFC 281. He will go against Alex Pereira, the first and only man to deal him his career knockout loss.