Nigerian-born New Zealand Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star Israel Adesanya has expressed shock over his success story in the sport.
Adesanya, 30, signed with the UFC in December 2017, and made his debut against Rob Wilkinson on 11 February 2018, at UFC 221.
He won the fight via TKO in the second round which earned him the Performance of the Night bonus.
After putting together strings of wins, Adesanya faced Robert Whittaker in a title unification bout on 6 October 2019 and won the fight via knockout in the second round to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion.
And reflecting on the rate at which he rose through the ranks as part of UFC Fight Pass’ new series Year of the Fighter, the Last Stylebender, as he fondly called, said even he can’t fathom the position he is in at times.
“Sometimes I look at my s***, like the way I live, and wonder: ‘what the f***, how did I even get here?'” Adesanya said.
“I’m just a fan, I’m just a fan of the UFC and MMA, and somehow I ended up here. It’s crazy.
“I’m grateful for the position I’m in. I get to play against the best in the world; this is as real as it gets. This ain’t EA Sports UFC – you guys all play online on PlayStation or Xbox, I play this shit in real life and it is mind-blowing.”
Touching on how his life has changed since he made his debut in the UFC in February 2018: “My personal life has changed a lot, but you have to know how to move,” Adesanya said
“I’ve seen this and plotted it for years. My life has changed and is still going to keep changing because I can still walk down the street a little bit and just enjoy life, but eventually those days are going to be gone, so I enjoy it while I can.”
Adesanya’s family joined him in Melbourne to watch the bout against Anderson Silva, and now as one of the UFC’s key figures, Adesanya takes it upon himself to ensure his family are by his side every step of the way.
” Before Melbourne, my brother was working like 60-hour weeks just to save up for the fight, to get over to Melbourne and watch me fight Anderson Silva. My family all work hard, we’re Nigerian, so from that fight I was like ‘f*** all that.’ Now I fly my family out and put them up, I let them have a good time. I want my support system with me to enjoy watching me fight.
“Who am I without them? They’re my creators; my mum and dad, my family – Adesanya people.”Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.