Adesanya’s victory comes less than four weeks after his fellow Nigerian counterpart won a UFC Belt.
Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman are Nigeria’s reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) winners.
Adesanya, better-known as ‘The Last Stylebender’, earned the interim UFC middleweight belt in a spectacular fight in Atlanta. The fierce fight was between him and American fighter, Kevin Gastelum.
“I was willing to give it all and leave it all in there. I’m the champion, let’s go,” Adesanya told journalists immediately after the bloody fight.
With this win, he has become the second Nigerian and African to win the UFC Interim Middleweight title.
The first place goes to fellow Nigerian and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman who won the title in 2018.
These two are currently ruling the martial arts world.
Meet Israel Adesanya
He was born on July 22, 1989, in Lagos state. He participated in Taekwondo until his mother made him quit after he broke his arm.
At 13, he moved to Rotorua, New Zealand. There, he regained his interest in fighting after watching a film called “Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior”. It starred martial arts star Tony Jaa.
This movie encouraged him to start kickboxing at age 18. It wasn’t long until Adesanya started breaking records in amateur kickboxing by getting 32–0 in all matches.
He moved to Auckland in New Zealand at age 21. There, he trained at City Kickboxing which gave him the opportunity to train with renowned martial arts fighters like Dan Hooker (Daniel Preston Hooker).
At 23, he made his professional debut in 2012. Over the course of five-and-a-half years, he won fights at Hong Kong, Australia and China, amassing a record of 11–0 in all his matches.
Adesanya signed with the UFC in December 2017. He won his first fight against Rob Wilkinson. He earned his nickname, ‘The Last StyleBender’, by going on to win most of his fights. His signature move is speaking Yoruba and dancing ‘Shaku Shaku’ (a popular move in Nigeria).
He reportedly holds a kickboxing record of 75 wins out of 81 matches. He currently holds the UFC Interim Middleweight title – awarded when the original champion is unable to compete for a long period of time.
Meet Kamaru Usman
While 29-year-old Adesanya is from Odogbolu in Ogun State, this 31-year-old hails from Auchi, Edo State.
He left Nigeria for Arlington, Texas, when he was 8 years old. After wrestling throughout high school and college, he made his professional MMA debut in November 2012. He eventually tried out for The Ultimate Fighter in early 2015.
Usman, known as the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’, made history by dethroning Tyron Woodley (one of the best in the game) in March 2019.
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I have been more than blessed to walk the path that I’ve walked. So many individuals have poured knowledge and wisdom onto myself throughout my whole athletics career. I hope this was validation that I didn’t take it all for granted. Special thanks to my family, friends, fans, and mainly my team. This is just the beginning @hkickboxing @henrihooft @jorgesantiagojj @coachgjones @kamibarzini @xcelljiujitsu @drcpeacock @steventhewarman #tonycabelloboxing @derrickdjames1 @jake_bonacci @sugarashadevans @ealvarezfight @tyrone_spong @ssorianomma @wolverine_170 @jboicuba @xpesports @hardknocks365 @crossfitboyntonbeach @ftxsportsperformance @templemartialartsclub #nigeriannightmare #andnew #africa #nigeria #ufc #champion
This made him the very first Nigerian and African to win the welterweight title.
“I might not be the best striker, I might not be the best wrestler, but when it comes to mixing it up, there’s no question I’m the best welterweight on the planet,” he said after the victory.
Usman is currently one of five Africans in the UFC. He currently has an unbeaten record in the UFC.