UFC star Israel Adesanya is ready to help usher in a new era of African dominance in the promotion.
At the time of writing, Adesanya is the UFC middleweight champion and Kamaru Usman is the UFC welterweight champion. By the end of the month, four of the men’s titles in the Ultimate Fighting Championship could belong to African-born fighters.
Adesanya is set to challenge Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight crown on Saturday, closely followed by Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 when he tries to take the UFC heavyweight title away from Stipe Miocic in his second crack at the Ohio native.
Given the fact they’re all within one or two weight classes of each other, it raises the question as to whether or not they’d even compete in an all-African affair. Alas, with Usman recently rejecting the idea of a fight against Adesanya at middleweight, it seems unlikely.
As a continent, Africa appears to be rising through the ranks when it comes to blossoming UFC stars. It hasn’t happened overnight, either, with this being a steady rise to relevance for those from that part of the world.
During a recent interview with BT Sport, Adesanya made it clear that the future is bright for African MMA:
“Honestly, I like the look of that. The powerful image with, I used to say three but I’m gonna correct myself and say four, African-born UFC champions, just side-by-side, united in strength. Like I said before they’ve taken a lot of gold from Africa and this time we’ll take some gold back to Africa. Adding two new collections to our gold would be very nice, and then standing united, shining and inspiring our people.”
While the end goal is ambitious, there’s no reason to believe it can’t come to fruition. Adesanya has a great chance heading into the clash with Blachowicz and Ngannou has improved a lot since his first encounter against Miocic.
Of course, underestimating what their opponents are capable of would be a heart-wrenching mistake, but this is a really exciting time for African UFC fans and long may it continue.