Israel Adesanya heard voices in his head during his UFC 236 title fight.
It has been two years and four months since UFC 236. Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum went to war that night in one of the best fights in UFC history. ‘Stylebender’ won the interim UFC middleweight championship.
There was a lot that was going on in the mind of Adesanya that night. During an interview with the Snacks and Chats podcast, he revealed he heard voices in his head during the third round.
“Everyone has that voice in their head [that says], ‘It’s okay. Don’t worry. Just tap out, just tap out,” Adesanya said.
“I had it in the Gastelum fight. In the end of the 3rd round or fourth round, it was like, ‘you’ve done enough. You hit him with a spinning elbow. You rocked him; you dropped him. It’s okay, just chill for a bit.’ Fu*k off, shut up, go. You have to tell that voice to fu*k off because it is there. I don’t give a fu*k who you are. Mike Tyson had that voice. [Muhammad] Ali had that voice. All the greats had it, but you have to override it. It is self-preservation because that’s what your brain wants to do-it wants to protect you.”
“I was winning the fight. I remember it was a feeling of-it happens in a split second; it’s not like a prolonged thing. It is like a lot of dialogue in a split second. It was like, ‘you dropped him, you’ve shown that you’re a fuc*in champ, you did a cool spinning elbow, that’s cool. You can just chill.’ I had to tell it fuc* off, and I just went at him.”
There is an infamous clip of him saying he was prepared to die when the fifth round started.
He still loves that fifth round and says it is one of the best moments of his life.
“The fifth round is still one of the greatest moments in my life. Not just in fighting but in my life. I dug deep in that one, and I found the new level. So, yeah, that is something that no one can ever take away from me, and I’m glad because he got close. But I’m glad I got the nod,” Adesanya said.
The fight would go on to win Fight of the Night as well as Fight of the Year in 2019 and will go down as one of the best title fights in the UFC.