Before making his presence known as “The Last Stylebender”, Israel Adesanya actually went by a very different title.
Adesanya has been all over the mixed martial arts world in the last few months following his monumental triumph over Robert Whittaker back at UFC 243. He made a statement in the main event of that card in Melbourne, finishing Whittaker within two rounds to become the UFC Middleweight Champion.
Now that he’s the champion we’re starting to learn a whole lot more about Adesanya, and that includes his background in combat sports.
“The Chinese brought me over as a ‘journeyman’ for their guys to beat up on, because obviously they want to promote their guys,” Adesanya told ESPN. “Then that didn’t work too well for them because I ain’t no b***h, and I beat up all their guys. I spoke the language a little bit, I was immersed in their culture and they loved me over there so they said ‘you know what, let’s bring this guy on our team’. Whenever they had a show it was Team China vs everyone else, so they gave me a name that means “The Black Dragon” and they kind of put this narrative behind me for the Chinese people to back me up”.
Adesanya has a fascinating and rich history in both kickboxing and mixed martial arts, and it truly does feel like this is only the beginning of his rise to prominence.
Everyone is expecting him to go head to head with Yoel Romero sooner rather than later, but in the eyes of many, the big money fight will be an eventual showdown with light heavyweight king Jon Jones. If that day finally comes, we can only imagine the sort of antics that Adesanya will engage in ahead of one of the biggest fights that the UFC could make.
What do you think of this story from Israel Adesanya?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/4/2019.