UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya does not think very highly of his UFC 293 challenger Sean Strickland.
Adesanya, who had been expected to take on Dricus Du Plessis at the event, will instead take on the veteran Strickland, who is coming off a TKO victory over Abusupyan Magomedov in July.
But Adesanya doesn’t seem to care.
Instead, he says he’ll take care of Strickland when they meet inside the cage on Sept. 9.
“He’s an idiot,” Adesanya told MMA Fighting. I’m not going to lose to an idiot. He says he’s not going to lose to a guy that jerks off to cartoons or paints his nails. Well, I’m going to paint my nails for that fight and I’m going to knock him out with my painted nails.”
Adesanya comes into the as a massive favorite. FightOdds.com lists the reigning champ as big as -625 on some sites.
But the New Zealander isn’t buying into the hype.
“I don’t listen to people [telling me I should win],” Adesanya said. “That’s [how]. I only listen to me and my team and this guy, he’s already pissed me off with his energy. The way he comes across and the way he tries to antagonize me.”
Adesanya also noted that he’s not a fan of Strickland’s “fugazi” persona or the way he handles himself in the gym, where he’s been seeing knocking out sparring partners.
“I don’t like the way he conducts himself,” Adesanya said. “Even his sparring footage will pop up in my feed sometimes and I’m just like what the f—Who does that? He’s a gym hero. He’s just an idiot and he’s not the kind of person I associate myself with and also he’s fugazi.
“The way he is normally backstage is not the same way when the crowd’s there. When the crowd’s there, he puts on the clown persona and tries to entertain people, which they love and it’s cool, but he’s not the same. I even put a little receipt, just one of them, on a clip I did [running into him] backstage — if you want to have this energy at the press conference, you could have had this energy backstage when I smacked you on the a–. He’s a fake guy.”
Strickland already had a tall task ahead of him. But a locked in Adesanya could make things all that much more difficult.