UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is one of the best martial artists in the business, but it was not always smooth sailing for the Nigerian. Despite being in an affluent family in Nigeria, things became different when his family emigrated to New Zealand.
Reflecting on his time after initially moving to New Zealand, the 32-year old said:
“He grew up quite loved. And then there were bits when I moved to New Zealand that wasn’t so nice, you know, you’re the only black kid in the school and you just picked on and whatnot. It made me have to have the fortitude in myself and be able to handle adversity at a very young age every day.”
The Last Stylebender also opened up about how he was not competitive at school, and only played sports because he was having fun, “I was never really competitive, I sucked at sports at school. I just played for having fun. So I wasn’t very competitive, but it was something I had to learn to survive and thrive.”
But since then, he has channeled that anger and has gone onto become one of the biggest stars the UFC has ever seen. Ever since becoming the champion in 2019 by beating Robert Whittaker, he has been unstoppable. His only defeat inside the UFC octagon came against former Light Heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz but that was when he moved up to the Light Heavyweight division.
He is undefeated in the Middleweight division, and will be looking to extend that streak when he takes on Jared Cannonier in UFC 276 next month.