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Israel Adesanya v Sean Strickland: UFC champion sees himself as the underdog

Israel Adesanya points as he celebrates a win in the UFC
Israel Adesanya has 24 wins and just two losses on his MMA record

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya views himself as the underdog against Sean Strickland on Saturday in Australia.

Adesanya competes in his 11th title fight in five years and is a strong favourite against American Strickland.

But the 34-year-old New Zealander says Strickland is "dangerous" and cannot be underestimated.

"A man with nothing to lose and everything to gain is a dangerous man," Adesanya, 32, said.

"I think that's what makes him dangerous. He doesn't care. He knows I'm going to beat him.

"So he doesn't care. He's going to try to do his best to beat me by any means necessary. I look at myself as the underdog in this fight."

Strickland was a surprise opponent for Adesanya after two wins and two defeats in his last four fights.

But top contender Dricus du Plessis of South Africa turned down the title shot, which allowed Strickland to step into contention.

He has 27 wins and five losses on his record, including against former champion Alex Pereira and top contender Jared Cannonier.

Strickland has trash talked Adesanya for much of the build-up, claiming he punched one of his fans "in jest" when he arrived in Australia earlier this week.

Adesanya, however, says he is not paying attention to Strickland's attempts to get under his skin as he searches for his 25th pro win.

"This is deja vu to me," Adesanya said. "He did say he's a better striker than me, so I welcome him to try.

"I've been doing this for a long time and I am yet to choke [anyone] out.

"So that's one thing that's on my list. I hope he wrestles. If not, cool, stand and bang.

"The man dance, if you will. He's selling wolf tickets (empty promises) when he talks about that.

"I don't think he's going to man dance with me and if he does, I'm a better dancer than him."

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