Israel Adesanya has professional boxing experience, going 5-1 from 2014-2015, but don’t expect him to ever return to the squared circle again. According to the interim UFC middleweight champion, he can make the big boxing purses in mixed martial arts and wouldn’t need to switch sports like Conor McGregor did to make bank.
“I’ll make that purse in MMA, guaranteed. I’ll make that purse in the UFC,” Adesanya said ahead of UFC 243. “You can make $100 million in the UFC. You don’t have to go to boxing. Only Mayweather is going to make that. Only McGregor is going to make that, when he fought Mayweather, so that’s the Mayweather effect.
“That’s going to happen in the UFC. I guarantee you. I might be the first to do it in the UFC.”
Adesanya went on to say that from the sporting side of things, he’d rather end his career fighting the best fighters in MMA, where he can use all the tools in his arsenal.
“It’s not about the money at the end of the day. I’m doing this for legacy. This is where I’m going to end my career. I don’t want to fight the baddest motherf—ers in the world and then go fight some guy and (say) ‘oh we’ll duke it out but we’re only using our hands!’ I’ve got to kick someone in the face!”
Adesanya is on the cusp of superstardom. Should he beat Robert Whittaker to take the undisputed middleweight title this weekend, you can expect his popularity and the heavy push from the UFC to increase exponentially.
With that, you can expect his purse to surely grow as well. That being said, $100 million paychecks are just so far from reality at the moment, especially considering everything we know about the UFC’s finances.
Even if Adesanya manages to completely surpass Conor McGregor’s popularity (and pay scale), it would still be impossible for him to break $100 million in one fight unless the UFC drastically changes their business model and revenue sharing. And based on the current legal battle going on against them, the UFC seems set on doing everything it can to keep things as it is.
In Adesanya’s last fight, he had a disclosed purse of $350,000, which is by far the highest in his career.