Israel Adesanya is the UFC Middleweight champion of the world.
He is charismatic, entertaining, skillful, proud and probably most importantly, undefeated.
Something he is not, is shy.
We have seen him do plenty of interviews, dance to the octagon and bait many of his opponents into a war of words but is there anything we don’t know about ‘Izzy’.
Ahead of his fight with Paulo Costa at UFC 253 on Fight Island this weekend, we have listed 10 Things You Don’t Know About Israel Adesanya.
1. He Is A Nigerian Born Kiwi
Okay this one is fairly well known but I see plenty of people still confused about his nationality, something Izzy is very proud of.
Adesanya was born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1989 and his father is an accountant and his mother is a nurse.
In 2001, he moved to Ghana for 10 months before landing in New Zealand at age 10 in search of better schooling.
He attended Rotorua Boys High School throughout his teen years.
2. He Is Not Undefeated
Although he has a perfect record in Mixed Martial Arts, he actually has six losses to his name in all combat sports.
He has an incredible kickboxing record, amassing 75 wins from 80 fights (five losses) and five wins from six professional boxing fights (one loss).
Two of those kickboxing losses came via Alex Pereira who won 40 of his 46 pro kickboxing fights before ended his MMA career with a record of 3 fights for 2:1:0.
3. He Was Almost An American
As we know, Adesanya moved to New Zealand at age 10 but his parents strongly considered the United States as the place in which the UFC superstar would grow up.
The 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center made his Mum and Dad reconsider the U.S.A in preference for New Zealand.
4. He Has The Fourth Longest MMA Unbeaten Streak Of All Time
His record of 19 professional MMA wins in a row without a loss sits fourth on the all-time list behind Renan Barao, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Jon Jones.
He won the Interim Middleweight belt at UFC 236 against Kelvin Gastelum in April 2019, he unified it against Robert Whittaker in October 2019 and then defended it for the first time against Yoel Romero in March this year.
5. He Holds The UFC Attendance Record
Israel Adesanya and Rob Whittaker headlined UFC 243 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on October 6 of 2019 and broke the attendance record for a UFC event with a total of 57,127 people attending.
It broke the previous record which was held at the same venue in Novemeber 2015 when Holy Hollm knocked out Ronda Rousey in front of 56,214.
6. He Wants To Fight Darren Till At Wembley
Leading into his fight at UFC 253 on Fight Island he mentioned his plans once he is done with Paulo Costa.
His team has had one eye on Jared Cannonier for quite a while and that is almost certainly his next fight but he mentioned that a fight against Darren Till at Wembley Stadium is also on the radar!
7. He Has Beef With Khamat Chimaev
Chimaev is an undefeated fighter who has been climbing the UFC Middleweight rankings in recent times.
MMA Twitter exploded with praise after the Dagistani fighter knocked out Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Fight Night: Covington v Woodley on September 19 inside 17 seconds.
Adesanya responded to the win by referring to him as a ‘rat lip’ and it did not go down well.
Will we see the two meet in the future?
Only time will tell.
8. He Is A Needle Mover
Whenever Izzy is involved, the viewers tune in.
The numbers do not lie.
Israel Adesanya = Needle mover.
👀 at those numbers so early into Fight Week.
— Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_Malata) September 22, 2020
9. He Is Worth $2 million
‘The Last Stylebender’ is reportedly worth $2 million after his latest fight against Yoel Romero earned him $540K.
This is nothing compared to Khabib Nurmagomedov ($30m) and Conor McGregor ($120m) but he is now in his prime money earning period and that will increase dramatically should he keep his unbeaten record in tact.
10. He Is Set To Break History Again
His fight against Paulo Costa is just the second time in (men’s) UFC title fight history between two undefeated fighters.
Rashad Evans v Lyoto Machida was the other.
Ronda Rousey fought three times for a title against other undefeated women. Cat Zingano, Sara McMann and Holly Holm.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Kowalkiewicz was the other.
What a fight it is going to be.