‘The Last Stylebender’, Israel Adesanya, is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing stars in the UFC.
After making his promotional debut just last year, the undefeated middleweight contender has gone on to win five straight bouts in the Octagon, picking up impressive wins over the likes of Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson and, most recently, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Adesanya’s climb to the top of the middleweight division has been compared to the meteoric rise of former UFC featherweight and lightweight champ Conor McGregor, who quickly became the biggest star in the promotion and one of the biggest stars in combat sports.
Adesanya respects ‘The Notorious’ but believes they are both on separate paths. While McGregor is chasing the records and numbers, Adesanya seems content to destroy anyone the UFC puts in his path.
“[McGregor] is on his own journey, I’m on my own journey,” Adesanya said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour (h/t Jose Youngs of MMA Fighting). “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 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.”
McGregor is currently rumoured to be in negotiations for a lightweight bout against Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, while Adesanya is gearing up to face Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight championship at UFC 236.
The pay-per-view extravaganza, which features a headlining interim featherweight title bout between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier, takes place next month, April 13 at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.