Under the bright lights at New York's Madison Square Garden, Israel Adesanya wants to look across the octagon and see the fear in Derek Brunson's eyes.
It's a look the Auckland-based middleweight says he's brought out in a number of his past opponents – most recently Hawaiian Brad Tavares, who Adesanya beat by unanimous decision in July.
"I really just want to get that first round over with, look across the cage, and see that look in his eyes," Adesanya told the Herald.
"It's the same thing with every guy; like with Brad Tavares, in the first round he's all [staunch] and then in the second round he comes out like we're friends now and it's all cool. But no – after the fight, I've got to whip that ass first.
"So I want to see his face after that first round, but I don't know if it's going to last that long. When he comes out, he better drop the chin – or I will."
Adesanya and Brunson, two of the UFC's top-ranked middleweights, will meet in the octagon at UFC 230 on November 4 in a three-round bout. Adesanya is one of three fighters training out of Auckland's City Kickboxing who have upcoming UFC bouts – with Kai Kara-France on the Adelaide card on December 2 and Dan Hooker fighting in Milwaukee on December 16.
In his last week of full-on training for the bout, Adesanya, who is unbeaten in 14 bouts, says having other fighters in camp around him is beneficial in more ways than one.
"I get in the gym, I see Dan and we're constantly just s***-talking. It's all practice – we've been doing this for years, our coach (Eugene Bareman) just gives us s*** - but that's why on the mic they can't f*** with me, because I have to deal with these guys every day.
"I love it – brothers in arms, in the trenches. It's good to support each other."
Leaving for New York on Saturday, Adesanya is right where he feels like he needs to be at this point leading into the bout. He brought his walking weight down from 93kg to just over 91kg, and will continue cutting over the next week before the official weigh-in where, to make weight, he'll need to be at 84kg.
He spent a lot of time during his eight-week fight camp upgrading his own skillset, estimating about 35 per cent his work was focused specifically on how to approach Brunson. The 34-year-old American holds an 18-6-0 record (12-5 UFC), with wins coming by way of submission, knockout and decision. In his six losses, he hasn't been submitted.
Adesanya says that will change if he gets an opportunity.
"I've been working with Dan, so I know how to strangle a few men.
"It's just chess not checkers, you know? We've set the pawns where they need to be so when it's time he'll realise 'oh s***, I'm in a trap and can't get out'."
Israel Adesanya (9) v Derek Brunson (6) - Tale of the Tape
Record: 14-0-0 | 18-6-0
Age: 29 | 34
Height: 193cm | 185cm
Reach: 203cm | 195cm
Leg reach: 112cm | 109cm