Nigerian-born UFC fighter, Israel Adesanya has revealed why he could not defend his middleweight title against Alex Pereira.
The Brazilian who is the latest champion knocked out Adesanya in the fifth round.
Prior to the match, Adesanya had tweeted, “ÒGÚN!! The Yorùbá God of Iron, of War, and of Metallurgy.”
The now former middleweight champion has never lost at his weight class of 185lb.
During his post-fight press conference following his loss at UFC 281, the 33-year-old Nigerian kickboxer said, “I’m grateful. What a life, what a moment… crazy, isn’t it? Similar to the last time, the same story, it’s crazy. I was fine, first thing I said to the ref was ‘I’m fine because I was still lucid, still in there and I was fine, but happens.
“I talked to my coaches and I trust them, but I was fine, I could see everything that was happening. My eyes might have rolled into the back of my head a little bit but I was lucid.
“I’m grateful, I’m proud, my team’s proud of me and respectfully. It’s all about my team.
“This is my third fight in ten months, every time I fight, I risk losing what you guys deem as prestigious, which it is, the belt. But it is, I put it all on the line because I’m not trying to just fight once and then chill, do my lap around and parade as a champion and not risk so much.
“I put it all on the line and this is what happens. Dare to be great, and I am.
“I know what I can do. The fight was going my way, he hit my perineal nerve, so that’s why my footwork was compromised.
“Even when I tripped and did the backwards rolly-polly it was because I just tripped over which is not like me. Kudos to him for investing in those calf kicks because it cost me.”