You know what mate, I don't understand why people get so upset with my foul mouth. Why the concern over an F bomb? Look at what I do for a living. I try and beat the life out of someone in the ring, but they're more offended by what I say.
It's not a direct quote from Israel Adesanya, but the essence of what was said to me by a man who was soon to become the toast of the UFC.
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Adesanya doesn't care what you think about him. But I do.
I embrace him and what he represents. He is a modern-day sporting hero.
I met Adesanya a number of years ago, as his star was on the rise and he was slaying the opposition in the King In The Ring competition.
His was a class above all comers, displaying the speed, dexterity, agility, power and thirst for conquest that has now taken him to the very top of his sport.
He also displayed an ability to shoot from the lip, challenge the status quo, to question where he sat in the world. He wasn't afraid. He didn't care what people thought of him.
He wasn't prepared to accept stereotyping. He was brash, overtly confident, arrogant even.
He hasn't changed.
He is now flexing his lip as he holds centre stage in one of the most keenly followed, rapidly expanding sports on the planet. MMA. Specifically, the UFC, where he is the undefeated middle weight champion.
He is listened to. He is rallied against. He expresses his own uncomfortable truths, truths that make Kiwis wince. He's suggested his global sporting footprint is larger than the All Blacks, brought attention to his race experiences as a young immigrant, told people how good he is, rained on the parade of New Zealand's humble culture and effortlessly and unrepentantly combined his African roots with his Kiwi existence.
All through the lens of an ultra-violent sport that denigrators compare to penitentiary savagery.
In the octagon itself he brings a new dimension to the conflict. Part dancer, part fighter. A matador with extravagance, a physical artist who paints his octagonal canvas with the blood of his opponents.
This weekend he takes on another undefeated monster, a raging bull called Paulo Costa.
Many would revel in Adesanya's defeat. To peg back an outspoken man. To chop down the tallest of poppies. Not I.
I see huge import in a man who speaks freely, thinks freely and challenges what it is to be a champion from Aotearoa.
There was a young man out of Louisville who beat a similar path. I'm not for a second suggesting that the Last Stylebender is in the same stratosphere as the great Muhammad Ali, but his star is shining in a parallel universe.