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In anticipation of Israel’s upcoming Middleweight Title fight in UFC 281’s main event against Alex Pereira, Izzy is sitting down with Ryan, Fred and Channing a few days ahead of his biggest fight in one of the most candid and entertaining conversations. A global star and one of the top UFC fighters int he sport, Israel knows what’s at stake and is embracing it, saying he is going to make this upcoming fight, “A Horror Movie”.
Ryan, who hosts his DC&RC UFC Podcast on ESPN, starts the conversation off talking through the past fights, biggest competitors, his training and what a win in this bout would mean.
Fully understanding the energy around this fight knowing that he has lost to Pereira twice in kickboxing, Izzy isn’t worried about what others think and knows who he is as the champion and isn’t worried about outside pressures. Israel says, people think he is joking when he says, he is prepared to die and prepared to kill, but once he steps into the cage and it lock behind them, it’s on. Using the Lion King reference, he explains that sometimes you have to remind yourself who you are like Mufasa did to Simba, and now he is reminding himself who he is, and he knows he’s a mother f**cking savage.
Getting into how some of his training has changed for this fight and how each of his past bouts have helped him grow and expanded his mind mentally and physically, Izzy shares what it’s like preparing for battle and how his outside passions and interests shape his approach to battle, often watching cartoons and reading for motivation and inspiration. Izzy uses the analogy that pressure makes diamonds, and there are moments in a man’s life where he has to step up and this is one of those for me. The last three fights I showed up and made each camp better than the last one and this will be no different.
Izzy opens up about how he never realized racism was so real until he moved to New Zealand and experienced it first hand. Being bullied as a child and often defending himself led him into the fight game from kickboxing to mixed martial arts now to UFC Champion. He shares experiences that have made him who he is and helped him develop the mentality he has as well as helped him create a persona that’s larger than life.
Channing asks him about some of the charismatic traits of his persona, wearing pearls, watching anime cartoons, theatrical fight entrances and why all of these unique aspects of him are important to who he is inside and outside the fight game. Freaky Fred puts some meaning behind his own nickname and asks Izzy about why he has an Only Fans account and what kind of material he puts out there to need one. The friendly banter continues as the guys talk about admiring greatness in other sports and athletes and how it takes a great one to admire a great one. Israel isn’t just fighting for himself, he’s fighting for his entire team and plans to give it all come Saturday night, even if that comes with physical sacrifice.
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