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Israel Adesanya’s anime references decoded

The folks over at Combat Culture on YouTube have put together an all new profile on one of the UFC’s fastest rising stars and his unwavering passion for anime.

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya rocketed through the rankings of the UFC behind a deadly kickboxing arsenal. However, as much as he may be known for his fistic talents in the cage, he’s also made a reputation of a much different sort outside of it. Alongside his fighting career, Adesanya is a hardcore anime nerd.

“I wanted to be animator when I was growing up,” Adesanya told ESPN ahead of his 2019 fight with Kelvin Gastelum. “I still will. I will have my own production company after fighting, and I will hire people who will actually bring my vision to life. But yeah, that was one of my things that I wanted to do was to be an animator and work for someone like Widder Productions or Disney.”

Whether it’s Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, or Avatar, from which the Nigerian-born New Zealander got his nickname, Adesanya is clearly a passionate fan. So check out the video above to see all the ways he connects that fandom to his performances in the cage.

Adesanya returns to action this weekend, at UFC 259, where he’ll take on light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in a superfight bid to become the UFC’s 5th ever ‘double-champ’ by holding two titles at the same time.

Unbeaten at 20-0 in MMA to date, Adesanya last fought in September of 2020, taking on Brazilian top contender Paulo Costa. The bout ended as a thoroughly one-sided victory for the City Kickboxing talent. Whether he can make a fight against Blachowicz look as easy remains to be seen.

Outside of it’s light heavyweight main event, UFC 259 will feature two other UFC title bouts. With Amanda Nunes taking on Megan Anderson in the co-main and Petr Yan defending his bantamweight title against Aljamain Sterling earlier on the PPV card. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and notes as fight night approaches.

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