Israel Adesanya is set to fight for the middleweight title at UFC 243 against Robert Whittaker. It is being billed as the biggest fight in the history of the Oceanic region. It is also a fight that could catapult ‘The Last Stylebender’ to superstardom.
He is already a big name in the UFC, but his coach, Eugene Bareman believes a win at UFC 243 makes Israel Adesanya the biggest active star in the UFC.
“After he wins this fight [he] will be the biggest star in the UFC. Biggest active star. There is one man [Conor McGregor] that’s sitting out at the moment, but I also know that it is a goal of Israel’s to be bigger than him. So, step by step he is ticking all his goals off,” Bareman said to MMA Fighting. “After this, he will be the biggest name in the UFC that is active at the moment. Then, he can address the next goals after that.”
However, something Bareman is worried about is whether or not Israel Adesanya will be the same person after becoming a superstar. He knows Conor McGregor started to fight less because he had so much money. So, he is interested to see if the same happens to his pupil.
“That is a constant worry. What I am interested to see, if I am brutally honest, is will Israel say as active as he has been after this fight? This fight is the fight that kind of takes him to a new stratosphere. We fought 21 times in a year once. But, we were getting a few thousand dollars a fight so we had to. It is a lot different when you got millions of dollars in your back pocket. Is that desire still there to fight? You got into this sport to be the best in the world and it is a little bit easier to drive yourself when you have a couple of grand in your pocket and living fight to fight.”
Coach Bareman continued to discuss his pupil Israel Adesanya.
“When you have millions of dollars in your pocket, do you want to be as active? Do you want to be the best fighter in the world? Do you really want to be the best fighter in the world? Because now you can afford to do whatever you want in between your fights? Now you can go and fly around the world and hire whatever hotel rooms you want and do whatever you want. That is when you really find out the true person.”
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This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/2/2019.