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Israel Adesanya on UFC matchmaking: ‘I don’t want to be babied all the way to the top’

TUF 27 Finale headliner Israel Adesanya embraces the UFC’s “sink or swim” mentality.

MMA: UFC Fight Night Phoenix-Adesanya vs Vettori Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Middleweight striker Israel Adesanya is one of the most intriguing and exciting prospects on the UFC roster, and in just his third fight inside the Octagon, he’ll be the main event against #8 ranked Brad Tavares.

Adesanya is 13-0 in MMA, to go along with an extensive kickboxing background that includes several appearances in Glory, and high aspirations for becoming a UFC champion.

As he told MMA Fighting, “The Last Stylebender” embraces the way he’s been booked thus far.

“In the UFC it’s sink or swim and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Fights like this are why I’m happy I didn’t sign earlier in my MMA journey when people were constantly telling me to sign with UFC. The reason why I took my time getting here is because I wanted to be ready to face the best when I got here.

“People think I just showed up out of nowhere. They don’t know anything about the body of work I’ve put together over the last 10 years; they don’t realize where I’ve been or know about the asses I’ve been kicking all over the world.”

Adesanya debuted against Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221 in February, winning by second-round TKO. He found himself on the main card two months later, prevailing by split decision vs. Marvin Vettori. It was revealed that his purse for that bout was $106,000 ($53,000 base/$53,000 win), which is definitely the type of deal to suggest that the UFC expects big things from the 28-year-old.

“I don’t want to be babied all the way to the top. The UFC have been looking after me. I’ve been getting the fights I want, they just didn’t know that I wanted them. They aren’t rushing me, I’m going at my own pace and I’m cruising.”

Adesanya vs. Tavares headlines The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale, which takes place on Friday, July 6th in Las Vegas, Nevada. FS1 airs the main card starting at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.