Midnight Mania! Israel Adesanya plans 2024 return but admits he is ‘on the back end of my career’
Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Between boxing, kickboxing, and MMA, Israel Adesanya has made the walk as a professional combat sports athlete an astonishing 116 times. Oh, and he’s won a whole lot more than he’s lost! A two-time UFC Middleweight champion with five defenses to his credit, Adesanya built up a remarkable MMA resume in a very short period of time.
Perhaps that was part of his downfall.
Adesanya was expected to walk over Sean Strickland, who received the title shot largely because Dricus Du Plessis was unavailable. It was a match up of strikers, and one was an elite kickboxer, while the other wasn’t really known for his knockout power or offensive depth. Naturally, Strickland wiped the floor with the champion and walked away with his title.
The combat sports world was widely shocked, and Adesanya himself admitted that time off was necessary. It seemed like a long layoff was coming, but “Stylebender” has since changed his tune. While he’s now admitting he’s closer to the end of his career than the start, a timeline is starting to become established: Adesanya also fully believes he’ll fight in 2024.
“That’s why I’m taking this time off. People were talking like I’m retiring or taking five years off. I’m like, ‘chill, don’t worry.’ My time off is different to most people’s time off. People take two years off. I’m not doing that,” Israel Adesanya said on his YouTube channel (via Cole Shelton). “Like I said, four fights in 14 months. I know I’m on the back end of my career. I know when I’m done with this, I’m going to miss it. So I was trying to do as much as I can. Then I realized it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. I’m still going to enjoy this. When I fight, I know I’ll fight (this year). I don’t know when I’m going to fight, but when I fight, it’s going to be quality. It’s not going to be quantity.”
If Adesanya only has a few fights left, the big question is what path will the 34 year old pursue? He could chase the Alex Pereira trilogy and Light Heavyweight belt, seek revenge on Sean Strickland, or finally look to settle his bad blood with Du Plessis. All worthy objectives, yet Adesanya may be forced to pick and choose if he’s really closing out his career.
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Reminder: his most recent three fights have lasted 19 seconds COMBINED. pic.twitter.com/wBP2O8IFsg
— Nolan King (@mma_kings) January 9, 2024
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