LAS VEGAS — Jared Cannonier is shutting out all noise and zeroing in on Israel Adesanya at UFC 276. Adesanya vs. Cannonier caps off International Fight Week on July 2, but most of the attention appears to be on the champion.
Cannonier is equipped with freakish power, but many expect Adesanya and his striking mastery to stifle “Tha Killa Gorilla.” Adesanya recently told Stake.com that his performance against Cannonier would emulate Anderson Silva vs Forrest Griffin. “The Spider” embarrassed Griffin, dodging shots like “The Matrix” and sending Griffin, quite literally, running out of the Octagon.
“I don’t really think about what other people say or what he’s saying. My thoughts are only on what he’s going to attempt to do Saturday night and what I am going to do on Saturday night,” Cannonier told CBS Sports and other reporters at Wednesday’s media day. “There are a lot of people saying a lot of different things and damn near all of them are counting me out. So why would I even pay attention to what people say that is on the negative side of me getting my win?
“That doesn’t serve me. That doesn’t help me. That doesn’t bring me any joy. I’m not focusing on that. That doesn’t hurt me. They are just words floating in the air. I’m not going to sit here and try and catch them like a guy with a butterfly net. No. They can sit out there and do their thing and those words will eventually die. I’m going to continue to thrive.”
Cannonier insists that Adesanya deserves full credit for his accomplishments, but that does not mean Cannonier will acknowledge naysayers. A sentiment exists in some circles that Cannonier is destined to be another notch on Adesanya’s belt. That is somewhat reflected in the betting odds. Cannonier opened as the biggest underdog of any of Adesanya’s title fights.
“Israel has garnered a lot of clout,” Cannonier said. “Rightfully so. The man has been putting in work. He has been doing his thing and looked good doing it.
“I’m not concerning myself with how other people feel about what’s about to happen on Saturday night. I don’t even want to comment on it. I’m not even going to contribute to that. So if anybody else has any questions about what somebody else said, you might want to re-do those questions right now. You have time. I don’t care what people say. I don’t care what people do. As long as they are not getting in the way of me doing my thing, we ain’t got no problems.”
Cannonier is 5-1 since dropping to middleweight after stints at heavyweight and light heavyweight. He defeated Derek Brunson, Kelvin Gastelum, Jack Hermansson, Silva and David Branch with four wins by knockout. Adesanya (22-1) is undefeated at middleweight with his sole career loss against Jan Blachowicz in a UFC light heavyweight title fight. His run as middleweight champion includes wins over Robert Whittaker (twice), Marvin Vettori, Paulo Costa and Yoel Romero.