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‘That’s what champions are made of’ - Coach defends Israel Adesanya’s UFC 276 performance

Coach Eugene Bareman responds to those who criticize Israel Adesanya’s UFC 276 performance.

Israel Adesanya during is UFC 276 title defense against Jared Cannonier.
Israel Adesanya during is UFC 276 title defense against Jared Cannonier.
Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Israel Adesanya successfully defended the middleweight title for the fifth time at UFC 276 this weekend against Jared Cannonier. “The Last Stylebender” got the job done via unanimous decision, but many were left underwhelmed by his performance.

Actor Chris Pratt, for one, expressed dissatisfaction with Adesanya’s “pitter-patter” performance that night. Now a few days removed from the bout, Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman is responding to those critics in an interview with Submission Radio.

“Look, I’m not gonna say that Cannonier is to blame,” he said. “Look, in a fight there’s two people in a fight, right? And between those two people, they figure out amongst themselves how this fight’s gonna play out.

“They have these interactions, they have these feelings, they have this vibe between each other, and they figure out how the fight’s gonna play out. You can’t blame Cannonier and you can’t blame Israel. But you can blame Cannonier and you can blame Israel. There’s two people in the fight.”

Bareman says he pays no mind to the critics since there is only “0.5% of people that actually know what they’re talking about.” For him, what matters more is that his fighters don’t incur long-term damage after they’re done with their respective careers.

“They have a very rudimentary understanding of the sport and they just wanna see what in their mind they think a fight should look like, and it should look like Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler fighting each other,” Bareman said of their critics. “Which is like, that’s great. Like, it’s great entertainment.

“But, I mean, my guys wanna have kids and they wanna enjoy the rest of their life. And they will get the spectacular knockouts and they will have the spectacular fights, but they will practice the art of hitting and not getting hit.

“And they’ll do that because they wanna live a long, happy, and successful life. And if you don’t believe me, let’s have a look at certain fighters 10 or 15 years from now, and let’s have a look at some of my guys, and the proof will be in the pudding then.”

Bareman also echoed Adesanya’s previous statement, saying he had an “off-night.”

“He had a slightly off night,” Bareman said of his prized protégé. “Look man, when you have an off night, and you can beat one of the best fighters in the world without a doubt, then who are you? Who are you?

“You’re the champ. You’re one of the best in the world. Have an off night and you can still do that? That’s what champions are made of. That’s a true champion.”

With the win over Cannonier, Adesanya improves his record to 23-1.