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UFC 248: Different aspects of Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya - Anime roots

  • UFC Champion Israel Adesanya has many facets to his character. Anime, happens to be one of the most important part of them. #UFC #UFC248
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Modified 02 Mar 2020, 15:11 IST

Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya

UFC 248 is now a week away, and there has been no better time than now to get to know the current UFC Middleweight Champion, Israel Adesanya.

In almost no time, Adesanya has created the deepest impact in the UFC, and no, I'm not talking about the Morgan Freeman film, that's Deep Impact. In fact, over his time in the company, he has become rather notorious due to his confident and cheerful approach to almost every fight. Having fought legends and more, this week, we are going to be looking at the different aspects of the UFC Middleweight Champion.

Today's topic? His roots in anime.


We live in a world, where far too often, people take themselves too seriously. However, Israel Adesanya, despite being in the most serious of professions — MMA — refuses to do that.

In fact, when he was younger, he fell in love with Japanese anime and cartoons, and that's an obsession that he is yet to let go of. In his high school years, Adesanya was heavily bullied and turned to MMA later in life. Despite being bullied, he refused to let that turn him serious.

He came into MMA with a new approach, one where he fused Mixed Martial Arts, with the anime moves that he had picked up while watching the show. Given that his name is 'The Last Style Bender', one would think that 'The Last Airbender' would be his favorite show.

When talking about anime to ESPN, Adesanya revealed that it was 'Naruto' that he embraced first. He said that he had watched all the 'Naruto' episodes in four years, with a couple of breaks in between, but during that period, he had been inspired by the character in the anime.

Naruto
Naruto

He talked about how Naruto held on to his values and his will-power and that was actually, one of the things that inspired him to get where he is today. He went on to add, that characters like Rock Lee, Shino, Akamaru, all inspired him, despite the fact that they were not 'real'.

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His values and respect were especially evident when he faced Anderson Silva in the Octagon and defeated the legendary UFC fighter.

On that note, it is also interesting to see that Adesanya has been trying to incorporate the offense of these characters in the Octagon. In fact, it was his attempt at bending and blurring the lines between reality and fantasy that actually made him who he is — The Last Stylebender.

"You see me try some [sic] I've seen in cartoons or video games and I'll pull it out in the Octagon because, I don't know, I can do it. I blurred the lines between reality and fantasy; I am that line: The Last Stylebender."

He admitted that he could not yet hit Naruto's Rasengan in the Octagon, but Sakura's move was a really strong punch, and that was something that he has been trying to bring into his offense, and he said that eventually, he would 'deaden someone' with one of those punches.

It is fair to say, that both MMA and Anime fans will be waiting for the day that he can make that happen.

For now, he is focusing on his career in MMA, but after this, he has talked about opening a production company and hiring people who he hopes will bring his vision to life.

Heading into UFC 248, he is fighting, perhaps the most ironically anime fighter in the shape of Yoel Romero. In what might be his toughest fight to date, Adesanya will be entering, as always, with two things in place — his willpower and his values.

Published 02 Mar 2020, 15:11 IST
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