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 the 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. These two are currently ruling the martial arts world.
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.
The 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.