Israel Adesanya criticizes Sean Strickland getting ‘triggered’ over trash talk: ‘He can dish it but can’t take it’

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Israel Adesanya understands how ugly things can get when involved in a fight with Sean Strickland.

In the days and weeks leading up to their bout this past September, Strickland launched all sorts of personal attacks aimed at Adesanya when promoting the fight. Of course, Strickland seems to spew wild and outlandish remarks at just about everybody, often times with personal jabs such as his ongoing feud with UFC welterweight Ian Machado Garry and his wife, Layla.

The tables turned on Strickland after his next opponent Dricus du Plessis returned the favor, mentioning abuse and other childhood trauma the reigning UFC middleweight champion suffered growing up. That led to Strickland actually threatening to stab du Plessis if the South African born fighter goes that low again when they come face-to-face ahead of UFC 297 on Saturday.

Adesanya admits he never listened to the specific comments made but he understands now that Strickland has no problem with comments that go out of bounds — as long as he’s the one making them.

“I heard that Sean got triggered,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel previewing UFC 297. “I saw the brawl and I thought ‘that’s out of character’ but then again, he can dish it but can’t take it.

“Look, we all have our own code and we all do whatever we have to do to win. Some people do anything to win even if it’s fabricating lies, if it’s taking things out of context, if it’s going after a loved one, anything to get the win. Some people take steroids to get the win. They’ll do anything to win. But some people have a code. When it comes to building a fight or whatever as well, I have a code where I won’t stoop to certain levels but sometimes codes can be broken or rewritten.”

In a separate interview with comedian Theo Von, Strickland was brought to tears while offering insight on the severe trauma he suffered as a kid.

Adesanya actually had his own interaction with Strickland getting emotional in the immediate aftermath of their fight. Even though he didn’t seriously mock Strickland for crying after becoming UFC champion, Adesanya knew in that moment that the always outspoken middleweight was showing a potential chink in his armor.

“The whole thing with him crying, you know what’s funny? When you roll the clip back and he’s crying in the cage, I was like ‘quit crying like a b****’ and he hugs me,” Adesanya revealed. “I’m joking obviously but it’s kind of ironic. I was like ‘quit crying like a b****’ cause he’s making fun of me ‘he’s such a soy boy’ and this and that. It’s just funny. I find it funny how he can dish it but can’t take it. That’s very telling for me.”

As far as du Plessis is concerned, Adesanya doesn’t really hold him in very high regard either, at least when it comes to the public persona he puts out there when promoting his fights.

Adesanya engaged in a nasty war of words with him as well after they were originally expected to clash this past year but an injury prevented du Plessis from competing.

“Dricus is fake,” Adesanya said. “I’ll put it this way, he’s fake on camera. He’s a real person. A real n**** but he’s fake when the cameras come on. When you meet him in person, he’s real.”

When it comes to the fight, Adesanya actually favors du Plessis to get the job done, especially if he varies his attacks and doesn’t just stand in front of Strickland for five rounds.

Adesanya suffered a one-sided decision loss to Strickland mainly due to his own inability to get out of the way of a slick lead jab and relentless pressure, although he puts that more on himself than his opponent.

“Dricus is going to try to wrestle him,” Adesanya said. “Stand up in the beginning, do his off-beat rhythm, all that stuff. He might get jabbed in the first round by Sean and then have to really switch to the grappling because Sean’s jab is underrated. I never underestimated it but it’s underrated and I figured it out.

“It didn’t take me long to figure it out after the fight. In the fight, I had some other s*** going on that I wasn’t able to figure it out, I was worried about some other stuff self-consciously to do with me, not to do with him.”

After Adesanya lost his title to Strickland last year, UFC CEO Dana White hinted that an immediate rematch could be in the works. Adesanya ultimately decided to take some time off following a very busy schedule these past few years but it’s still entirely possible that he’ll end up facing the winner of the UFC 297 main event sometime in 2024.

With that said, who does Adesanya see holding the belt?

“I’m going to go with Dricus,” Adesanya said. “Is it going to go the distance? I’m going to say no. Not that I don’t respect Sean or his skills, the guy beat me. Of course, I respect his skills. I’ll say [submission]. He’ll submit him.”

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