By far one of the standout performers from UFC 230 was middleweight phenom Israel Adesanya, who showed exemplary takedown defense and picked apart Derek Brunson for a first-round TKO finish. It was Adesanya’s highest profile opponent to date, and he was sensational.
UFC president Dana White was unsurprisingly quite happy with how “The Last Stylebender” performed. (Via MMA Fighting)
“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,” White said at the UFC 230 post-fight press conference. “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.”
Adesanya is a perfect 15-0 in his MMA career, with a 4-0 record in the UFC. All of his UFC appearances have come in 2018, starting with a TKO vs. Rob Wilkinson, a split decision vs. Marvin Vettori, then an impressive five-round decision vs. Brad Tavares before his emphatic outing vs. top-ten ranked Brunson in New York City.
Ambitiously, Adesanya has his eyes on the UFC middleweight title, and a showdown in New Zealand against current champion Robert Whittaker intrigues him, provided Whittaker beats Kelvin Gastelum in their targeted February bout. While Adesanya is certainly not too far away from a title shot at this point, White would like to slow Israel’s roll just a tad.
“The minute I saw this kid, I was like, holy sh-t 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—king fight everybody right now and he wants to fight every month, which I love.
“Listen, you want to become a big star? Keep fighting. 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.”
You can watch the full Dana White post-fight press conference video below, courtesy of Submission Radio.