Fans might be saying goodbye to Israel Adesanya a lot sooner than expected.
On Saturday, April 8, ‘The Last Stylebender’ will attempt to recapture the UFC middleweight championship by doing something he has never done before: beating Alex Pereira. After three different meetings across two different sports, Adesanya is yet to solve the puzzle that Pereira represents, but he’ll get another crack at it in the UFC 287 main event. As it turns out, it could be one of Adesanya’s last performances based on comments he made backstage at last weekend’s UFC event in Australia.
“I’ve been in the UFC five years, right? If I’m being honest, I’m not gonna be here in five years,” Adesanya told reporters backstage at UFC 284. “I have other things to do in life.”
Israel Adesanya made his first appearance inside the Octagon at UFC 221 in February 2018. Five years later, ‘Stylebender’ has established himself as one of the greatest middleweight competitors of all time. While he has every intention of climbing his way back to the top of the 185-pound mountain, Adesanya simply can’t see himself competing in another five years.
“I love this sh*t and I’m f*cking great at it but I never attach myself to this and I’m gonna leave on top. So yeah, that’s the best way I feel like you should leave. But again, I’ve been here five years in the UFC, (snaps fingers) it went like that. We’ll see how long I’m here for but I don’t think it’s gonna be five years” (h/t MMA Junkie).
Fans on Twitter React to Israel Adesanya’s Retirement Plans
With Israel Adesanya turning 34 years old this year, another five years would see him pushing 40. It’s certainly not unreasonable to think he would put down the gloves by then to pursue other avenues while he still has youth on his side. Fans on Twitter were quick to speculate on when ‘Stylebender’ may choose to walk away from the sport with some suggesting it all hinges upon whether or not he can defeat Alex Pereira in April.