Israel Adesanya has been exceptional to watch since making his UFC debut. He is a fighter who quickly rose through the ranks in the middleweight division to establish himself as one of the best in the business. Here are eight things you didn’t know about the current UFC Middleweight Champion.
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1. Movies inspired him to be in Kick Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts
Most people might not know that the Style Bender was inspired by the movies. At the age of eighteen, Adesanya caught a screening of the Muay Thai flick, ‘Ong-Bak’ starring Tony Jaa which gave him the idea of going down this path, which would eventually lead him to being crowned UFC Champion.
2. He could have been a United States resident
🇳🇬 Nigerian-born. New Zealand-raised 🇳🇿
Israel Adesanya fights for legacy, history and greatness this weekend! 🏆🏆
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) March 5, 2021
At the age of just 10, Adesanya’s father decided to make a move out of Nigeria, originally toward the United States, but 9/11 then happened and the family decided to move Rotorua, New Zealand and he remained there until he was a teenager. He then moved to the Capital of New Zealand, Auckland to train at City Kickboxing. Although he represents the Kiwis as a fighter, Adesanya is proud to be a Nigerian and respects his roots.
3. He asked for a bout against his idol
Nigerians Are Taking Over.
We keep winning.
Israel Adesanya vs Anderson Silva.
When asked about Anderson Silver,
He said: Anderson Silver is the G.O.A.T(Greatest Of All Time), but I’m Nigerian, we eat goats everytime.#ufc #ufc234 pic.twitter.com/zRO8l44kf0
— T.G.O (@MarsxTGO) February 10, 2019
After dominating the middleweight division, Adesanya went to the UFC president Dana White and requested for a specific match at UFC 234. He had asked for a match with his idol, Anderson Silva which was granted by Dana White. The fight lived up to its expectations with two of the best striking masters inside the octagon. Adesanya was just sharp enough to take the victory home on a unanimous decision.
4. He broke the UFC attendance record
October 5, 2019 — Israel Adesanya lands the most devastation left hook in his defeat of Robert Whittaker to unify the UFC middleweight titles at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia. pic.twitter.com/6MkXxOwfuf
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) December 25, 2019
At UFC 243, Adesanya took on Robert Whittaker for the title in the Marvel Stadium, Melbourne which saw a total of 57,000 people attending the event, the largest number recorded in UFC history. It was no surprise that the New Zealander’s fans flew in to support their home boy. Adesanya stood up to the big stage and TKO’d Whittaker in the second round of a completely dominant encounter.
5. One of the quickest to rise through the UFC Ranks
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Since his debut in February 2018, Adesanya fought five times in a span of twelve months which also earned him an opportunity to get his hands on the title after just 18 months in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, faster than anyone else in the sport. His attitude and winning mentality has helped him get through his journey to glory in rapid pace.
6. He’s had a flourishing Kickboxing Career
Adesanya was the one of the best kickboxers of his generation and his division. With a record of 32 – 0 as an amateur, he quickly made his way to the to the top. A record of 75 – 5 saw him as a clear title contender, but after his defeat to Alex Pereira, he left the ring for the Octagon. It is clear that he won’t return to kick boxing but he has truly already left his mark as a kickboxer.
7. A Dancer?
Izzy low-key predicted covid all the way back in ufc 243 (Oct 6th)!!! 😳 pic.twitter.com/Jy28FFaQ6H
— 𝓙-𝓜𝓪𝓬𝓴 🍀 (@Blessed1__4Ever) September 17, 2020
Israel Adesanya is a fantastic person, both on and away from the octagon. If you thought his moves as a fighter were special, he’s got some other ones you might be jealpous of on the dance floor! He often gives us a glimps and perhaps the most memorable was in Nigeria after winning his match against Kevin Gastelum at UFC 236. He celebrated the success in his signature fashion by setting the dance floor on fire…and we LOVE it!
8. Israel is a total Anime Fan
Where do you think the name “Style Bender” comes from? It is a tribute to the most popular cartoon “Avatar: The Last Airbender”. The Middleweight champion has never been shy with his love for things related to Anime. As a modern age fighter, it also helps him connect even more with the young fan base with a lot of pop culture references and a growing fan base that showers him with more love with every fight and win.
[Image Credit: Israel Adesanya]