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Israel Adesanya declares himself ‘most humble’ champion in UFC history: ‘I don’t have to tell people’

UFC 277: Pena v Nunes 2 Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

UFC 281 will be a family affair for the City Kickboxing (CKB) boys.

This weekend (Sat., Nov. 12, 2022) in New York City, five of the CKB gym’s finest are set to compete with the Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, closing the show. Taking on old kickboxing rival, Alex Pereira, Adesanya seeks his first overall victory against the Brazilian as they fight over a mixed martial arts (MMA) title this time around.

As one of the bigger personalities in the sport at present, Adesanya’s title reign began in 2019 and he’s been unshakeable ever since. “The Last Stylebender” credits the team and people around him as a big reason for being able to stay grounded and not get carried away to perhaps the extent others might in his position.

LIVE! Watch UFC 281 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE-DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to “The Fight Mecca,” Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Sat., Nov. 12, 2022, featuring two highly-anticipated championship showdowns. In UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, will look to settle the score with former kickboxing foe and No. 5-seeded contender, Alex Pereira. In the ESPN+-streamed PPV co-main event, women’s Strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, intends to defend her newly-won title for the first time against former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Zhang Weili.

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“I’m the most humble champion in history because I just am,” Adesanya told ESPN. “I don’t have to tell people.

“For me, it’s just the people around me that keep me humble,” he continued. “The teammates I have, when you have guys smacking you in the face or slamming you down every other day, that’s real humility. I’m not this kind of champion that has fake humility just to get likes. Nah, I’m really about it because I have the right people around me to keep me grounded. They also don’t try and hold me down, they let me fly because I’m a peacock, I gotta fly (laughs).”

UFC 281 won’t be the first time several CKB fighters have fought alongside each other. For Adesanya (23-1), he’s noted that he uses the performances of his teammates fighting before him as fuel, but makes sure not to get overly energized in one direction over the other. His results haven’t wavered thus far as he seeks official title defense No. 6.

“You have certain people [in Australia/New Zealand culture] who try and keep you down,” Adesanya said. “They feel like it’s their responsibility. I’m like, ‘Who the f—k are you?’ Oh, someone’s gotta keep you on the ground. Who the f—k are you? I don’t know you. But these guys, they know me and they keep me grounded. When it’s time to fly, they don’t hold me down, they let me fly.”


MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 281 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPNews at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 281: “Adesanya vs. Pereira” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the complete UFC 281 fight card and PPV line up click here.

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