Israel Mobolaji Temitayo Odunayo Oluwafemi Owolabi Adesanya, born on 22 July 1989.
Is a Nigerian and New Zealand professional MMA fighter, kickboxer, and former boxer who has won many titles in all three disciplines.
As a mixed martial artist, he now fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight division.
Where he is the current and two-time UFC Middleweight Champion.
He is a former Glory Middleweight Championship title challenger in kickboxing.
He is currently ranked first in the UFC middleweight rankings as of November 14, 2022, and fifth in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings as of March 21, 2023.
Early life and Education
Adesanya was born in Lagos, Nigeria, as the eldest of five children.
His father, Oluwafemi, is an accountant, and his mother, Taiwo, is a nurse.
Adesanya attended Chrisland School in Opebi and was a member of its Taekwondo after-school club until he was removed by his mother owing to an injury.
He moved to Ghana with his family for ten months in 1999, but due to his parent’s desire for their children to acquire a well-recognized higher education.
He settled in Rotorua, New Zealand, at the age of ten and attended Rotorua Boys’ High School.
During high school, Adesanya was more interested in Japanese anime such as Death Note and the manga series Naruto.
Adesanya was bullied in high school and credits his experiences with bullying for his decision to pursue martial arts later in life.
Adesanya enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Computer Design program at the Universal College of Learning in Whanganui after graduating from high school.
He began training in kickboxing at the age of 18 after being inspired by the Muay Thai film Ong-Bak.
Two years later, Adesanya decided to discontinue his studies in order to pursue a career in kickboxing.
He went on to accumulate a 32-0 amateur record before going professional and competing in China.
Adesanya relocated to Auckland, New Zealand, at the age of 21 and began training in mixed martial arts.
Adesanya is fluent in several languages.
He speaks Yoruba, Nigerian Pidgin, and English.
Professional Kickboxing Career
Adesanya won the first of his seven consecutive fights in May 2010, defeating Tim Atonio by unanimous decision.
He won his following six fights in China, nearly exclusively against Wu Lin Feng.
Adesanya participated in New Zealand’s regional circuit’s King in the Ring Cruiserweights II event.
Adesanya went on to win five of his next six fights, including a victory over Yousri Belgaroui and Bogdan Stoica.
His defeat occurred at the hands of future GLORY Middleweight champion Alex Pereira, who won by unanimous decision.
His final kickboxing bout before switching to MMA was a rematch with Alex Pereira at Glory of Heroes 7.
Pereira won the fight by knockout after down Adesanya in the third round with a short left hook.
Professional Mixed Martial Arts Career
Adesanya made his professional debut in 2012, with a TKO win against James Griffiths,
He won another TKO fight against John Vake before taking a two-year break from MMA.
He returned to MMA in August 2015, winning by TKO against Song Kenan.
Adesanya signed a contract with the UFC in December 2017.
On February 11, 2018, he made his UFC debut against Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221.
He won the fight through technical knockout in the second round.
On November 12, 2022, Adesanya fought Alex Pereira, who had two kickboxing victories over him.
Adesanya lost the fight and the title through technical knockout in the fifth round, his first defeat at middleweight.
Pereira and Adesanya fought again for the UFC Middleweight Championship on April 8, 2023, at UFC 287.
In the second round while against the fence, Adesanya landed a right hook that knocked Pereira out, winning him the bout and the title.
This victory earned him the award for Best Performance of the Night.
Professional Boxing Career
Adesanya made his pro boxing debut in November 2014 against two-time Australian champion Daniel Ammann.
He was given one of two wildcards to the inaugural Cruiserweight Super 8 Boxing Tournament.
He lost by unanimous decision after appearing to outpoint Ammann in the quarter-finals.
Adesanya re-entered the Super 8 tournament in May 2015, which was hosted at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch.
Adesanya competed in the Super 8 Cruiserweight tournament in 2015.
He won a unanimous decision against Zane Hopman in the semifinals.
And defended his cruiserweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Lance Bryant in the final.
Adesanya used to compete in dance contests all around New Zealand before taking up fighting.
In a choreographed walkout at UFC 243, he showcased his love of dance.
Adesanya is a fan of anime and has stated that once he retires from fighting, he plans to launch an anime production company.
His nickname “The Last Stylebender” refers to the anime-influenced cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Toph Beifong, one of the show’s main characters, is tattooed on Adesanya’s forearm.
In September 2020, he became the first mixed martial arts fighter to sign a sponsorship deal with Puma.
Adesanya was also signed as an ambassador for Stake.com in January 2021.
Israel Adesanya is apparently dating Shana Evers, an Australian model born in 1990.