Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland may be exchanging plenty of verbal barbs ahead of fight night at UFC 293, but when he strips everything back to the basics, the reigning UFC middleweight champion sees a very similar matchup to one that produced one of his best UFC performances.

Back at UFC 253, Adesanya totally defused Paulo Costa to retain his title sa he took the aggressive Brazilian striker and systematically dismantled him to claim a second-round TKO in Abu Dhabi in 2020.

Speaking to the press ahead of fight night in Sydney, “The Last Stylebender” said he saw similarities between Costa and Strickland as they get ready for fight night in Australia.

“He looks good against guys who are human punching bags,” he told the press during media day.

“Roll back the tape. UFC 253, I said the same thing about Paulo Costa. This is not my ego talking. This is just me speaking strictly facts.

“I said Paulo looks good against guys who were human punching bags. Look at Sean’s last fight. He fought Magomedov and he was a f*****g human punching bag. Just stood there and got beat the f**k up.

“I told you guys, ‘Paulo will not catch me. I will catch him eventually.’ I told him I was going to knock him the f**k out, and I did. Again, this is not my ego talking. This is just facts.

“Sean fights guys and looks good against them because they let him look good against them and they let him get in their head. Again, I’ve done this how many times? This is deja vu to me. All this s**t is semi-fun, but what I really want to do is just fight. I really want to fight and showcase and watch my team showcase before me. All that’s cap.”

Adesanya admitted that, if he could choose his method of victory, he’d love to get the job done by submission. But he thinks that Strickland will abandon the perceived best strategy of wrestling him and will stand and strike. That tactic, Adesanya said, will only lead to one outcome.

“I hope he wrestles,” he said.

“If not, cool – stand and bang. Do the ‘man dance,’ as you will.

“He’s selling wolf tickets when he talks about that, by the way. I don’t think he’s going to ‘man dance’ with me. And if he does, I’m a better dancer than him.”

He continued, “I don’t want to knock him out, if that makes sense.

“It’s just, 1+1 is 2, and I’m going to knock him out.

“I’d rather submit him, to be honest. I want to submit him, but what we’ve worked on and what he does, and his ego, and his brain is just a peanut.

“So, 1+1 is 2, water is wet, Sean Strickland is getting slept.”