Israel Adesanya's Title Loss at UFC 293 Blamed on Injuries: "People Had No Idea"

Dan Hooker says Adesanya wasn't 100% in past few fights: "You're losing to guys who you should cakewalk."
Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like Israel Adesanya will be returning to the UFC sooner rather than later.

The two-time UFC Middleweight Champion wasn't his usual self in his last fight against Sean Strickland at UFC 293, losing his title in a lopsided decision and his longtime teammate Dan Hooker believes he knows why.

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At his peak, Adesanya was one of the most active champions on the roster, defending his title 2-3 times a year, not leaving too much time in between fight camps. That being said, injuries are bound to happen, but they've never stopped Adesanya from entering the Octagon, showing up for all 16 of his UFC bouts without having to withdraw.

Injuries to Blame for Israel Adesanya's UFC 293 Performance?

Not having fought in nine months, Hooker says Adesanya is more than ready to make his comeback story, one that hopefully isn't impacted by injuries as his teammate would suggest his last few fights were.

"He's good to go, like, holy wreck," Hooker said of Adesanya to Combat TV. "People had no idea, like the amount of injuries he was carrying into all of those fights and stuff like that because he was so quiet about it and just kept so active. Just kept pushing through... But, it got to the point where now it's starting to affect your performance and you're losing to guys who you should cakewalk."

Many believed Adesanya would have his absolute way with Strickland at UFC 293, seeing as though the American lacked a full training camp and his striking credentials weren't up to speed with "The Last Stylebender." However, Strickland ultimately shocked the world by nearly stopping Adesanya with punches en route to a clear decision victory over five rounds.

Sean Strickland vs. Israel Adesanya at UFC 293.
Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

With Strickland now off the middleweight throne, Adesanya will likely face heated rival Dricus Du Plessis next for the UFC title later this year. Injury-free and some much needed time away, Hooker says we can see the biggest and baddest version of Israel Adesanya come out to play.

"He's the biggest and strongest, like I've ever seen him."

Dan Hooker on Israel Adesanya

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We'll see how Israel Adesanya compares to middleweight tank Dricus Du Plessis when they eventually square off for the undisputed UFC title - potentially at UFC 305 on Aug. 17, in Perth, Australia.

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Christopher De Santiago

CHRISTOPHER DE SANTIAGO

Christopher De Santiago is a 22 year-old journalist from Gainesville, Texas with years of experience covering MMA.