UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is hoping to create an iconic and historic moment alongside Kamaru Usman and Francis Ngannou.
Adesanya, who now calls New Zealand home, was born in Nigeria. Usman, the UFC welterweight champion, was also born in Nigeria, while Ngannou, the UFC’s top heavyweight contender, is a native of Cameroon.
Ahead of his light heavyweight title fight with Jan Blachowicz, which headlines the UFC 259 card this Saturday, Adesanya was asked if he’d ever consider fighting his fellow Nigerian, Usman.
He promptly dismissed that possibility.
“Nah, [I wouldn’t fight] Usman or anyone that I consider a brother,” Adesanya told local media at his training home of City Kickboxing in Auckland. “It’s almost blasphemous.
“Together we’re strong, divided we fall,” he added.
Rather than fight Usman, Adesanya would like to see multiple Africa-born fighters holding UFC titles simultaneously—including Ngannou, who challenges Stipe Miocic for heavyweight gold at UFC 260 later this month.
“Imagine when Francis gets that belt, [it’ll be] me, Kamaru and Francis: three African-born champions holding UFC belts currently, at the same time,” Adesanya said. “That’s powerful. That image is powerful. That image itself is iconic and historical, and it would do a lot for the people from our continent.”
Usman was also recently asked about potentially fighting Adesanya in the future, and shut the idea down just as promptly.
“I don’t see myself ever fighting Israel, even though a lot of people have hinted toward it,” Usman said the JRE MMA Show. “I don’t see myself fighting him. Having two belts in Nigeria is better than just having one guy hold two belts. There’s no desire there. That’s my guy. He’s special.”
What do you think of these comments from Israel Adesanya? Do you think the UFC will have three African-born champions by the end of the month?