Israel Adesanya ‘Was stepping up to fight’ at UFC 300 prior to booking of Pereira – Hill title headliner

Israel Adesanya picks Jamahal Hill to beat Alex Pereira by KO in UFC 300 title fight

UFC lightweight Dan Hooker claims that Israel Adesanya was prepared to step in and fight at UFC 300.

Following his shock loss to Sean Strickland, it appeared that Adesanya was going to take some time away from the sport in what would be his first real break after an active combat career across both MMA and kickboxing. 

However, after posting some training clips and rumbling began of a return it seemed Israel Adesanya had a change of heart. In fact, teammate and pal, Hooker, claims that the former UFC middleweight champion was preparing to comeback for UFC 300 to face bitter rival, Du Plessis.

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Israel Adesanya was set to fight at UFC 300, according to Dan Hooker

“It’s a good fight they scratched together,” Hooker told Sky Sports New Zealand. “I want to know, I want Dana to come out and say that what had all gone on behind the scenes. Because as far as I knew, Israel was stepping up to fight in that 300 slot.

“He’s (Adesanya) continued to stay in the gym and stay healthy and stay training very hard, so I would anticipate him getting another fight booked pretty soon.” 

The UFC were desperate to put together a solid UFC 300 main event and the promotion appeared to like the idea of Dricus du Plessis vs. Israel Adesanya. However, the champion said he would be unable to make the date after a hard-fought five-rounds with Du Plessis in January. Hooker believes that Du Plessis was unwilling to risk his position but couldn’t really blame him for doing so.

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“I feel like Dricus, that was going to be a big ask after the five rounds he had with Strickland, he took a lot of damage in that Strickland fight,” Hooker said. “And yeah, he turned the title fight down before. He was supposed to fight Israel in Sydney when [Izzy] fought Strickland. But he had, like, a niggle, he had an injury, and he wasn’t prepared to take that risk.”

“I was not surprised at all that he wasn’t prepared to rush back and take that risk for UFC 300. Can I criticize him for it? I can’t really, cuz it worked out in his favour the last time. He’s now the one walking around with the title. So can I criticize? ‘You should want to fight at UFC 300 with half a training camp!’ I can’t, I can’t criticize him.”

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Who wins, Israel Adesanya or Dricus Du Plessis?