How UFC newcomer Israel Adesanya went from bullied kid to human highlight reel

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

The signing of Israel Adesanya by the UFC has been met with enthusiasm.

After all, it’s not every day that an undefeated, exciting 28-year-old striker who happens to have knocked out all of his 11 MMA opponents crashes the middleweight scene. Add to it an extensive and highly victorious kickboxing record – 75-4, according to Adesanya’s own calculations – and you understand why there’s excitement.

And if the numbers alone still won’t do it for you, just check out the video evidence available online (via Twitter):

Looking at it now, The Nigeria-born Adesanya, who fights out of New Zealand, seems as close to a natural as there can be. But, as it turns out, his presence didn’t always command the same respect that it does now. So he learned how to get it.

“Coming up, I was never like this,” Adesanya told MMAjunkie Radio. “Contrary to popular belief, I was like a runt back in high school, back as a kid, and bullied being the new kid in New Zealand, like one of the only few black kids. And I had to learn how to defend myself. You’ve got these big Maoris and these Islanders, you know. They don’t (expletive) around.

“So I had to learn how to talk to myself. I had to build myself up, so this was not – people say, ‘Oh, he came up overnight.’ Or, ‘He’s just this big, confident’ – nah, I learned how to talk to myself properly. And that’s (something) that not many people have in this game.”

Adesanya (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is set to have his octagon debut Feb. 10 against Rob Wilkinson (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia. This will be Adesanya’s seventh MMA bout in Aussie territory – the others took place in either New Zealand or China.

Whenever someone enters MMA’s biggest stage after making an impression elsewhere, there’s bound to be some comparisons. Considered a rangy, technical striker with a penchant for highlight-reel knockouts, all-time octagon greats like former champions Anderson Silva or Jon Jones become tempting parallels.

As Adesanya expressed when fellow MMAjunkie Radio guest Jacob “Sitch” Duran said the composed 185-pounder sounded like a young “Bones,” that wasn’t his first time hearing it. Of course, you can do worse than being compared to one of MMA’s most talented fighters. But “The Style Bender” is here to make statements of his own.

“When I first saw Jon, it was, I think, UFC 94 – (Georges St-Pierre) vs B.J. Penn 2,” Adesanya said. “He fought Stephan Bonnar. I was watching him and seeing the way he wrestled, and I was like, ‘Oh’ – because, you know, same body type and frame.

“He’s been an inspiration coming up, but I’m not trying to be anyone else. I’m just trying to do me. I’m going to just keep the same energy. Do what I’ve always done. Do the same thing but just in a different cage.”

Adesanya’s MMA record might not be too extensive, but when you factor in kickboxing, it’s clear the UFC isn’t dealing with an inexperienced man, either. Over the years, Adesanya says, he’s learned how to properly channel whatever nerves he has before his fights and expects to keep that going under the bright lights inside the octagon.

Seeing Adesanya fight and even hearing him confidently speak, it’s hard to imagine many other human beings able to scare him. But, as it turns out, he’s not entirely immune to fear.

“My mom scares me, depends,” Adesanya said. “My coach, if he’s mad at me – shout out to Eugene (Bareman). I don’t know. I don’t really have much fears. But it’s part of life. You do get scared in certain moments, but it’s how you deal with it.”

To hear from Adesanya, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC 221, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2590 with Israel Adesanya, Stitch Duran, Adam Hunter, Geoff Quares

Stream or download Friday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Israel Adesanya, Stitch Duran, Adam Hunter, Geoff Quares.

Adesanya, who recently signed with the UFC, stopped by the studio to talk about his upcoming fight with Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221. Hunter, a notable stand-up comic, shared some anecdotal stories about his experiences with MMA fighters. Quares, the president and CEO of Triumphant Combat Sports, was in studio to talk about the latest with his promotion. Cutman Stitch Duran co-hosted the entire show in studio.

You can listen below or stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

Filed under: News, Radio, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Israel Adesanya, Stitch Duran, Adam Hunter, Geoff Quares

Filed under: News, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Israel Adesanya, Stitch Duran, Adam Hunter and Geoff Quares.

Adesanya is a highly touted newcomer to the UFC roster and debuts at UFC 221. Duran, a veteran MMA and boxing cutman, is our in-studio guest host, along with comedian Hunter and Triumphant Combat Sports CEO Quares.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Israel Adesanya set for promotional debut at UFC 221 in Australia

A highly touted promotional newcomer is set for a debut at UFC 221.

UFC officials today announced via foxsports.com.au that kickboxer Israel Adesanya (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is set to fight middleweight Rob Wilkinson (11-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC).

UFC 221 takes place Feb. 10 at Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia, Australia. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

Adesanya, a 28-year-old Nigerian born-New Zealander, has competed and in excelled in MMA, boxing (5-1) and kickboxing (50-5) since 2011. He’s 11-0 with 11 knockouts in MMA, where he made his debut in 2012. He picked up one of his most notable victories in July, when he stopped UFC vet Melvin Guillard in the first round at a regional show in Australia.

Here are some highlights (via YouTube):

He now meets Wilkinson, a 25-year-old Australian who recently served as an injury replacement at UFC Fight Night 115. In that promotional debut, he suffered a TKO loss to Siyar Bahadurzada. The former BRACE and Australia Fighting Championship titleholder had an 11-0 start to his career that included 10 stoppages.

The latest UFC 221 card now includes:

  • Champ Robert Whittaker vs. Luke Rockhold – for middleweight title
  • Tyson Pedro vs. Saparbek Safarov
  • Jussier Formiga vs. Ben Nguyen
  • Curtis Blaydes vs. Mark Hunt
  • Cyril Asker vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Damien Brown vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim
  • Teruto Ishihara vs. Jose Quinonez
  • Mizuto Hirota vs. Ross Pearson
  • Jeremy Kennedy vs. Alex Volkanovski
  • Israel Adesanya vs. Rob Wilkinson

For more on UFC 221, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie