The rise of Israel Adesanya has drawn comparisons to the rise of Conor McGregor. The two took the UFC by storm and were both considered future champions from the early phases of their careers.
Israel Adesanya agrees he shares some similarities with Conor McGregor, but assures they’re on different paths.
“A guy like Conor McGregor, one thing I really appreciated when he first got in the game and one thing that really inspired me was his love for fighting,” Adesanya said recently on The MMA Hour. “Eventually, I don’t know, it kind of became not just about fighting and more about the money and selling numbers and breaking records and pay-per-view and all that kind of stuff. But, one thing — and I don’t know the guy that well — I can say from what I see lately, from the way he’s posting his training [videos], he’s getting back into that same mindset.
“We’re warriors, we’re gladiators, we’re modern day f*cking badasses. A fighter walks in the room and people are like ‘oooo’ because everyone is trying to be a tough guy. But, we don’t have to do sh*t because we are tough guys and everyone knows it. So, I feel like he’s getting back to that mindset of the younger Conor McGregor that loved to fight and f*ck everyone up.”
The similarities are definitely there. However, Adesanya believes the two are going down different paths in their careers and the way they handle themselves differ from each other also.
“[McGregor] is on his own journey, I’m on my own journey,” Adesanya said. “That’s the beauty of this sport. We’re trying to get to the same place, maybe, but we’re on different paths.
“I just want to f*ck everyone up. I’m not a f*cking asshole or a dick or anything unless they deserve it. I just want to fight and be remembered as the best, who fought everyone and beat them. Then the money, the numbers, the records, they all chase me. So, there’s a little bit of strategy to it but I don’t want to go too deep. I’ll keep that to myself because look, [14 months] and I’ve already headlined a couple (of) shows and I’m already on the way. I wouldn’t say I’m at the top yet. But, I keep rising, and even when I’m at the top, I keep rising. I just want to have these key moments, these key fights, and that’s about it.”
Do you think there are any similarities between Israel Adesanya and Conor McGregor?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/10/2019.