Before entering the MMA scene, Israel Adesanya was busy enjoying success in the realm of kickboxing. As a kickboxer, he built a 75-5 professional record and an unbeaten amateur resume of 32-0.
'The Last Stylebender' initially started training in Muay Thai in 2008 in Whanganui under the guidance of Derek Broughton. He subsequently jumped ship to City kickboxing to train in the discipline alongside Eugene Bareman and has been with him ever since.
Not unlike his stint in the UFC, he fought in more than one weight class during his tenure as a kickboxer, including middleweight and heavyweight.
Watch some of the best moments of Israel Adesanya's kickboxing career right here:
Israel Adesanya achieved a similar degree of success in the sport of MMA
Israel Adesanya made a permanent switch to MMA following his devastating knockout loss to Alex Pereira in their 2017 rematch. A loss like that would probably break a fighter’s will to make a career in the second sport. However, Adesanya rose back and conquered the sport of MMA in a little over two years after the loss.
During his initial run in the UFC, Adesanya was perceived as a striking ace who would probably hit a dead end in due time. However, 'The Last Stylebender' amassed a five-fight winning streak before fighting for the interim UFC middleweight title at UFC 236. ‘The Last Stylebender’ fought with dogged determination and emerged victoriously in the barn burner of a fight against Kelvin Gastelum.
He then went on to become the unified champion by defeating Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 and defended the title five consecutive times. In the meanwhile, Adesanya attempted to become the simultaneous two-division champion and challenged Jan Blachowicz for the UFC light heavyweight title. However, he lost the fight via unanimous decision.
Adesanya suffered his first loss at middleweight against Alex Pereira at UFC 281 in November 2022. However, he recaptured the strap by finishing ‘Poatan’ via second-round knockout in April 2023. ‘The Last Stylebender’ is already in the conversation for being the greatest middleweight of all time, the title currently held by all-time great Anderson Silva.