Israel Adesanya looking to inspire young Nigerians

This week colour commentator, Joe Rogan was joined on his popular podcast show by UFC Middleweight Champion: Israel Adesanya.

The striking phenom was lauded by Rogan as they spoke at length about Israel’s UFC career. Homage was paid to past foes such as Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum. But what stood out is how Israel wants to change the Nigerian sporting landscape.

"I want to take the soccer ball out of their hands and replace them with gloves. We have some great boxers." Adesanya said speaking on his recent travels to Nigeria.

Adesanya had high praise for the Nigerian fighting spirit. Much in the same way that Brazil has become renowned for Luta Livre or the Ancient Greek, Pankration. Nigeria’s own fighting art: Dambe has grown in popularity since the influx of native UFC fighters such as Kamaru Usman and Adesanya.

"They’re staying up till 4am to watch me and Kamaru fight."

Adesanya also touched on his time in Nigeria. Expressing how he was humbled by the creativity of his people. But he also spoke about the darker side of his travels to a shanty town in Nigeria. The presence of gangs is still very real and Adesanya hopes to inspire the next generation of aspiring fighters to overcome their circumstance.

"Once Africans step in it’s going to be like when 50cent dropped ‘in da club’ and killed the whole game for a while."

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