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It’s hard to fathom that Israel Adesanya only made his UFC debut in February.
Today the UFC formally announced at their 25th anniversary press conference held at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles that the middleweight prospect will make his fourth appearance for the promotion.
Adesanya will face Derek Brunson at UFC 230, which will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York City on November 4 (AU).
In his three fights since joining the promotion, “The Last Stylebender” has continued to exceed expectations. Last month, Adesanya outclassed division staple Brad Tavares over five rounds in a main event fight many believed had come too soon. Adesanya will now look to extend his unblemished record once more against #6 ranked Brunson.
Despite falling short in his last outing and suffering a knockout loss to “Jacare” Souza, Brunson (18-6) has proven to be a dangerous competitor with seven of his nine UFC victories coming via stoppage in the first round.
On top of the obvious competitive appeal, this fight also comes with the added intrigue of a budding personal feud. Perhaps the start of which publicly began with Adesanya’s appearance on Luke Thomas’ Sirius XM show after making his UFC debut in February. When asked what he thought of the level of striking in the UFC’s middleweight division, Adesanya laughed.
“In the middleweight division, there’s some guys that standout that have really good striking, but then I just started laughing ‘cause a name came to mind and that was Derek Brunson.” Adesanya told Thomas.
“He’s got a lot of knockouts, ‘cause he’s awkward and he’s weird, but he and a few others, the striking in the middleweight division and the UFC in general is just not on our level.”
Last week, Brunson posted a video challenging Adesanya to fight him at UFC 230. In response, Adesanya co-opted the video in quite an entertaining way.
Derek shit stained balls Brunson...🤭— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) July 26, 2018
Your skid row, #bumfights style, drunken wrastlin', boot leg #chucknorris technique has no power here 😂😂😂
Fuck he is so cringe when he tries to smack talk...just ssshhh 🤫. I got this!#getthestrap pic.twitter.com/AfOssClWBt
The pair have continued to exchange barbs across social media since.
At the press conference today, UFC President Dana White’ kept his arms outstretched between them during a heated staredown. When a reporter asked where the feud originated, Adesanya said it began years ago.
“He said I was a fanboy in 2015. Thing is, I seen him and I said, ‘what’s up.’ He ignored me way back then in 2015, so that already shows me that he knew who I was and knew I was a threat already way back then. And now that I’m here, I’m in his face, I saw him, he can’t even control his emotions. He’s just coming in here trying to flex. Don’t worry, November 3rd, I will deliver.”
“Israel, you’re skinny, bro,” Brunson responded. “Hey, you better lift some weights, man. You’re skinny as hell. I’m not worried about you. I’m an All-American wrestler. I’m gonna dunk you on your head for three rounds, bro, ‘til I finish you.”
Two further bouts between middleweight’s top-ten have been scheduled for the card: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. David Branch and Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa. A re-match between former champions Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman has also been reported as close to finalised, per ESPN.
It was also announced at the press conference that storied lightweight Nate Diaz will make his much-anticipated return to the octagon against Dustin Poirier in the co-main event.
In what already looks to be a stacked card, the UFC are still yet to book the main event.
UFC 230 will take place at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York City on November 4 (AU).