Who is he?: MMA rising star Israel Adesanya

Oliver Noah

Israel Mobolaji Adesanya, 30 is a Nigerian-New Zealander professional mixed martial artist, kickboxer, and boxer. As a mixed martial artist, he is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, where he is the UFC Middleweight Champion.

Israel is promised to be the rising superstar of the UFC. He has immigrated to New Zealand in early childhood. He has then nicknamed himself as the “Black Kiwi”. He has been going strong while being unbeaten for 15 fights already. Adesanya has gone 4-4 in the UFC in 2018. What is very exciting is that he will be facing the legend of the MMA Anderson Silva, which will be very much determining his future path as well. Though, Israel is very much up to winning over the ultimate trans-Tasman contest with Robert Whittaker.

Early Life

Israel Adesanya is originally from Nigeria. He was born in Lagos and has four siblings. While studying at school, Israel took Taekwondo lessons in the school club. Though, he was withdrawn from the club by his mother due to the injury he got. In 2001 he and his family moved to Ghana. It was only for 10 months. His parents desired the best education and community for their children and thus they moved to New Zealand, Rotorua. At that point, Israel was only 12 years old.

When Israel attended the school, he did not seem to be very interested in sports, nor was he much of a sports person. He was more into the philosophy and the Japanese anime, especially the Death Note and Naruto, pretty similar to the modern kids.

The decision of introducing martial arts to his life was made due to the background of his childhood. When moving to another country and attending the school in New Zealand he was bullied and mistreated by his peers. This was the main influence on his decision to pursue martial arts later in his life.

It was later in the teenage years, at the age of 18 when Adesanya started practicing kickboxing. This was inspired by Muay Thai film Ong-Bak as he has recalled afterward.

He went on to amass an amateur kickboxing record of 32-0 before moving to and fighting in China. At the age of 21, Adesanya moved to Auckland, New Zealand, and began training under Eugene Bareman at City Kickboxing, with other established MMA fighters such as Dan Hooker, Kai Kara-France and Shane Young.

Early Career

Israel Adesanya made his professional debut as the MMA fighter in 2012. His first debut was in Hong Kong. he participated in fights in Australia and China for the next five years and recorded 11-0, with all wins via KO/TKO. This was before he had been signed to the UFC.

It was announced in 2017 that he has signed with the UFC. he won his first fight with Rob Wilkinson. The win earned him the Performance of the Night title. He won his next two fights as well.

Israel Adesanya has won the credit of “The Last Stylebender” title while being in contract with the UFC. For now, Israel is planning to make a lot of money in UFC for his future. And this definitely sounds like a plan for now and definitely has the potential. With this being acknowledged he does not understand why the other fighters do not follow this direction, as for Israel making money is a very motivational attitude towards the topic.

“This UFC is where I’m going to end my career,” Adesanya said. “People say, ‘oh, after UFC, you can go to boxing and have one super fight maybe with Canelo and make a hundred million.’

“I’m like, I can do that in the UFC. I might be the first fighter to do that in the UFC.”

The attitude of Adesanya is very much obvious. He says that if you truly want to express yourself and maybe act like a bad guy for some time, then the MMA is the only and the greatest possibility for everyone to take.