Israel Adesanya might just be the next big star that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is looking for.
The 28-year-old former professional kickboxer made good on his Octagon arrival earlier this month when he flattened middleweight Rob Wilkinson via second-round TKO at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia. It was a spectacular finish for “Last Stylebender,” especially considering the hype that surrounded his UFC debut.
Now that Adesanya is in place to make a name for himself within the biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion in the world, he’s making it known that he’s willing to fight any middleweight UFC puts in front of him.
“I’ll fight anyone, anyone in the world,” Adesanya told MMAjunkie following his victory over Wilkinson at UFC 221. “I’ve never really had my fights cherry-picked. A lot of these guys will get into the UFC or even combat sports, like boxing or kickboxing, they get their fights cherry-picked. Not me. All my fights were fighting the best people from different parts of the planet.
“Now I’m in the UFC, people are like, ‘Feed him some cans first or get him a top 10.’ I don’t really care. Either one is a fight for me. Whomever I fight, my pay check is still the same. And I’m getting bonuses in all the rest of my fights.”
While Adesanya possesses promising skill inside of the cage, evident by his 12-0 professional MMA record and 50-5 record as a pro kickboxer, the Nigerian native is just as effective on the microphone. He’s confident, charismatic, and capable of turning out some pretty memorable sound bites (like this UFC 221 post-fight interview). It’s something that’s going to fuel Adesanya’s promotional ascension heading into the second half of 2018.
“No one’s really calling me out or saying anything yet,” Adesanya said. “I know these boys, they’re just treating me like the Dark Lord – he who shall not be named. They feel like if they say my name, they might get the power. Or maybe they’re scared. I don’t really care.
“All I know is I’m working. If you want to beat me, you better do it yesterday, because every f*cking day, I’m getting better.”
Adesanya has a lot of work to do if he’s ever going to climb the 185-pound ladder and threaten for UFC gold, but the “Last Stylebender” is confident that he’s as good as advertised.
“I’ve been there for a long time, you guys are just late to the party,” Adesanya said.