In today’s combat sports world, crossing over from one form of fisticuffs to another has seemingly become the norm.
But it all started way back in 2010 after former heavyweight boxing champion, James Toney, decided he wanted to test his skills in a mixed martial arts (MMA) against former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight king, Randy Couture.
The fight lasted all of 209 seconds, as “All American” choked out Tony via arm triangle choke in the very first round at UFC 118.
More recently, Conor McGregor made the jump into the professional boxing world, as the former UFC champ-champ took on Floyd Mayweather in a big-money bout that saw Floyd defeat “Notorious” via technical knockout (TKO) in the tenth round back in 2017.
Since then, there have been several other pro MMA fighters such as Jorge Masvidal, Tyron Woodley, Francis Ngannou and current Heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, looking to make the jump over to the sweet science.
One man who won’t even consider making the the switch — even for a one-off— is current UFC Middleweight title holder, Israel Adesanya. According to “The Last Styelbender,” going to a sport that takes away 80-percent of his weapons simply isn’t smart.
“This [UFC] is where I’m going to end my career,” Adesanya said, speaking on ‘Ebro in the Morning,” as transcribed by The Body Lock.
“It’s silly. Why would I come to the proving ground of all fighting — the UFC — and then afterward, fight a guy and take away like 80 percent of my weapons,” Adesanya said. “I just want to kick people. I want to strangle someone. I can’t do that in boxing. I don’t want to get into the clinch and then okay, break.”
Coming from a kickboxing background, Israel prefers MMA for the sheer fact that he can attack and finish his foe with various techniques, not just one.
“Same thing with kickboxing, same thing with jiu-jitsu, same thing with judo, same thing with wrestling, they’re all limited styles of fighting. If you want to be the baddest motherfucker in the world. Pound-for-pound –everyone throws that greatest fighter, pound-for-pound is Canelo [Alvarez]. He’s the pound-for-pound maybe greatest boxer right now. Not fighter. You have to test yourself against another style.”
To hear Adesanya tell it, not even the allure of a big payday will make him go over, as he says he can — and will — make just as much money fighting inside the Octagon than he would boxing.
“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,” he added.
As one of the rising stars for UFC, Adesanya could very well be the promotion’s driving force for the next few years, as his skills, personality and all-around charisma have drawn the attention, admiration and respect of many, Dana White included.
For now, Israel (18-0, 7-0 UFC) could be in line for a big-time title defense against one of the most feared and dangerous combatants in all of MMA, Yoel Romero, in early 2020.