Last night, in the opening bout of the UFC 230 main card, red-hot UFC middleweight contender Israel Adesanya picked up the biggest win of his career, dissecting long-time contender Derek Brunson with some of the finest striking we’ve ever seen in the Octagon.
With this win, just about everybody jumped aboard the Israel Adesanya hype train — and that includes UFC President Dana White. The boss showered the Nigerian New Zealander with praise shortly after the card wrapped up.
“Israel has been a guy who has been on the rise here for a minute, but I really felt like tonight was his first big test,” Dana White said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “His opponent hits like a truck and wrestles really well, and Madison Square Garden, opening the show, man, did he deliver. Many people — including me — think this kid is the future, and he went out and put a stamp on it tonight.”
While White believes Israel Adesanya is the real deal, he also hopes the young striker will take his time on the come-up.
“The minute I saw this kid, I was like, holy shit this is really good, I like this,” White said. “Then you hear him talk, I like that too. He’s the whole package. He is very ambitious, I would like him to pump the brakes a little bit. This guy wants to f*cking fight everybody right now and he wants to fight every month, which I love.”
“Listen, you want to become a big star? Keep fighting,” he added. “If you’re a young guy who’s healthy enough to fight all the time, I absolutely advise it. Do it. What you don’t want to do is put on a great performance and disappear because people forget real quickly. But yeah, I like him very, very much and I don’t want to move him as fast as he wants to be moved, so he and I will get together and find a happy medium.”
What do you think the future holds for Israel Adesanya? Is he a future UFC champion?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/2/2018.