By Christopher Reive in Melbourne
Israel Adesanya looked across the cage to see Robert Whittaker's eyes focused on the big screens.
Whittaker had just been dropped, with the end of the round coming at the best possible time for the defending middleweight champion.
With Whittaker's eyes focused on what had just happened, Adesanya got his attention, made a 'v' with his first and middle finger, pointed to his eyes and delivered a simple message: "I'm your problem right now."
It was at the start of the second and, ultimately, final round of the bout – just moments before Adesanya dropped Whittaker again with a one-two combination to earn the stoppage and become the new undisputed UFC middleweight champion.
"I was like 'don't look there – look at me. You've got to worry about me right now. That's done.' That's what I was trying to say to him because that was a moment passed," Adesanya recalled after the bout.
Despite knocking Whittaker down at the end of the first round, Adesanya was patient in the second round and waited for the opportunity to place his shots for maximum impact presented itself. Whittaker pressed forward all fight, as he said he would, throwing heavy shots at volume.
Adesanya had the reach advantage and used it superbly. Whittaker knew he would have to get inside to connect with anything of consequence and had some early success in doing so.
However, Adesanya got the better of an exchange between the two, landing a check-hook with the right before sending Whittaker to the mat with a hook from the left.
"I always established my distance so I never felt in danger. I said leading up to this fight fear is not real, danger is real and I'm a dangerous man. I was the danger," Adesanya said.
"I could have rest on my laurels and been like 'yeah I dropped him, I'm going to rush in now'; no, he's a beast. If I go fight dumb and try go for the finish he could catch me and lay me the f*** out."
It was Adesanya's first stoppage in his past three fights, earning him a US$50,000 performance of the night bonus and likely putting a stop to those saying he didn't have knockout power – at least for the time being.
"Anderson Silva really changed my mentality about martial arts. Jackie Chan first did, then Anderson Silva. I had the idea, I think it's just something that's been infused by Hollywood, that you have to be this jacked Rambo mother***er to be a fighter. That's what you see in movies, that's what you grow up watching so everyone still sees that and it's just embedded in them.
"I don't need power, everyone has power. I have precision."