Israel 'The Last Stylebender' Adesanya 'rising with the tide' ahead of UFC on Fox 29
  • Israel 'The Last Stylebender' Adesanya 'rising with the tide' ahead of UFC on Fox 29
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  • Mar 31
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  • By Katrina Mahoney

“He was a good cunt.”

UFC middleweight Israel Adesanya has an interesting perspective on how he’d liked to be remembered once his fighting career is all said and done.

“That’s how I want to be remembered. Just a good cunt,” said Adesanya.

Two words now synonymous with ‘The Last Stylebender’ for a t-shirt he first wore to the after party of his UFC debut in February. It was in the hotel beforehand where he decided to make a last-minute change.

“I had this outfit planned already. This one to wear to the after party,” Adesanya said. “And then I was just like, ‘Fuck, I’m comfortable.’ I’m wearing socks with slides, my nice Engage slides, Engage pants, Good Cunt top,” Adesanya said.

“And I went, and it was a hit.”

At least for the most part, the shirt was received with good humour, though Adesanya says it hasn’t gone without criticism. Criticism he finds ironic in the face of his brutal last performance.

“They just saw me beat the fuck out of a guy in his own blood until the referee pulled me off him,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be a problem. These are just words. They have power, yes, but you can’t let them be taboo or whatever. I just think it’s stupid.”

Adesanya recognises the platform of being a professional fighter and says while he isn’t interested in being “preachy”, he isn’t going to change and start to say what people expect him to.

“I’ve always talked about issues that I felt were important to me, or swept under the rug.”

His social media is evidence of that, though it’s his sense of humour which reigns supreme there.

“I got jokes. I think I’m funny,” he paused. “Sometimes.”

A sense of humour which Adesanya says is not a reflection of his conservative parents.

“Nah, no, not Nigerian parents. Hell no,” he said. “Nigerian parents are super strict so I didn’t really get it from them, or maybe I did.”

Adesanya contemplated the effect of growing up in such a strict environment, even being told to sit and write a certain way, and always feeling like the odd one out.

“I used to be left-handed,” he said. “They’d cane your left hand so you’d have write with your right hand.

“Everyone tried to put me in a box.”

The experience inspired the moniker he bears across his chest, ‘Broken Native’.

“Out of all, I guess, the people in society, all the natives, I’m the one that doesn’t really fit. A broken one,” said Adesanya.

“The pebble amongst stones.”

Adesanya left Nigeria at age 10, but he has a lot of family there and says it was still growing much to his surprise.

“When I went back to Nigeria last time, ‘cause my dad’s father had two wives and my mum’s side had three wives, I’m meeting all these new cousins I didn’t even know I had. My family’s bigger than I thought,” Adesanya said.

“I wouldn’t try it in this day and age though. I mean, you get the good with the bad. If you have two or three wives, you get triple the good stuff, but then I mean, imagine when their periods sync up,” he laughed.

Adesanya made his UFC debut in February at UFC 221

Adesanya made his UFC debut in February at UFC 221.

Undefeated Adesanya (12-0) will face Marvin Vettori (12-3) at UFC on Fox: Poirier vs. Gaethje on April 14.

“He’s tough. That’s what’s got him so far. He’s very tough,” Adesanya said of Vettori.

“He can take a beating, and I can give them.

“There are a few ways I see it going, each of them I see it getting stopped.”

Despite a stunning performance at UFC 221, Adesanya says this fight will be like any other and isn’t feeling the pressure and expectations of others.

“I’m not worried about any of them. I just take compliments and criticism, I let it pass through me and I focus on me.

“Nothing changes,” Adesanya said. “I’m just gonna keep rising with the tide.”

Adesanya said he only came to appreciate how he handled his debut after watching it recently.

“I remember watching Bruce Buffer introduce me and I was looking in my eyes and it was just, fuck it was just, cold.”

He said a lot of guys in that position would have buckled under the pressure of the moment.

“I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but toot toot,” he said. “I did well.”

As for future opponents, Adesanya doesn’t have a dream fight.

“Everyone’s on my list.”

Though he admits one name came to mind recently.

“Someone today just kinda popped up and I decided today, I was like, ‘I’m gonna fight this person.’”

A name he’s keeping close to his chest, but he did offer some hints.

“I think [he’s] top 15,” he said. “In another weight class.

“I look forward to that fight.”

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  • Mar 31
  • |
  • Katrina Mahoney

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