The stakes are high for Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 according to his coach, Eugene Bareman.
“The Last Stylebender’s” coach says a win over Robert Whittaker will make Adesanya the biggest active star in the UFC.
“After he wins this fight [he] will be the biggest star in the UFC. Biggest active star. There is one man [Conor McGregor] that’s sitting out at the moment, but I also know that it is a goal of Israel’s to be bigger than him. So, step by step he is ticking all his goals off,” Bareman said to MMA Fighting. “After this, he will be the biggest name in the UFC that is active at the moment. Then, he can address the next goals after that.”
Not only does he think it will make him the biggest active star in the UFC, but he is curious about how he reacts to it. Coach Bareman knows McGregor stopped fighting as he had so much money, so he wonders if Adesanya will be the same.
“That is a constant worry. What I am interested to see, if I am brutally honest, is will Israel say as active as he has been after this fight? This fight is the fight that kind of takes him to a new stratosphere. We fought 21 times in a year once. But, we were getting a few thousand dollars a fight so we had to. It is a lot different when you got millions of dollars in your back pocket. Is that desire still there to fight? You got into this sport to be the best in the world and it is a little bit easier to drive yourself when you have a couple of grand in your pocket and living fight to fight.
“When you have millions of dollars in your pocket, do you want to be as active? Do you want to be the best fighter in the world? Do you really want to be the best fighter in the world? Because now you can afford to do whatever you want in between your fights? Now you can go and fly around the world and hire whatever hotel rooms you want and do whatever you want. That is when you really find out the true person.”
UFC 243 take place on October 6, 2019 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime