Undefeated middleweight sensation Israel Adesanya will make his anticipated return to the Octagon tomorrow night (Sat., April 14, 2018) at UFC on FOX 29 from inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, when he takes on Italian prospect Marvin Vettori.
Despite this only being Adesanya’s second UFC appearance, the hype surrounding the 28-year-old former kickboxing standout is enormous. Having finished all 12 of his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts via knockout, “Last Stylebender” is being mentioned alongside the best prospect in the sport today. The fact that Adesanya is good on the microphone also helps him stick out among his middleweight peers.
Despite his growing notoriety, Adesanya wants everyone to curb expectations about his fighting career moving forward. Because at the end of the day, we really don’t know what version of “Last Stylebender” we’re going to get.
“Don’t expect anything from me in life,” Adesanya said earlier this week during UFC on FOX 29’s media day (h/t MMA Fighting). “Expect the unexpected, because a lot of people might be expecting like, ‘He’s gonna do this, he’s gonna try and do that, he’s gonna be this guy.’ But I’m me, you know?
“I might be feeling different on that day. I might be dark on that day. I might not even talk. I might just chill, or I might be real bubbly. I might give you guys a whole song and dance and everything. But, yeah, just expect the unexpected. Always expect me to bring my best when I’m in that cage.”
With an unprecedented combat track record and sensational skill set inside of the cage, Adesanya has already drawn comparisons to former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Adesanya isn’t going to win a UFC title at the age of 23, but his fight IQ and creativity inside of the cage could make him an untouchable force at 185 pounds, sort of how “Bones” has ran through the light heavyweight division since his UFC debut 10 years ago.
That said, Adesanya doesn’t particularly enjoy the comparisons. Instead, “Last Stylebender” is looking to forge his own legacy and separate himself from every other fighter in the sport.
“For me, it’s not about Jon Jones,” Adesanya said. “It’s just, I mean, I feel like it’s disrespectful to compare me or what I’ve done throughout my career to someone else – whether it be Anderson (Silva), Conor (McGregor), Chael (Sonnen), whoever. I just feel I’m not the next blah blah blah. I’m the first me, and the one and only me. So people need to get used to it.
“The comparison’s cool, but it’s not really cool.”
If Adesanya is able to extend his win streak to 13 and put a brutal stop to Vettori this weekend at UFC on FOX 29 then his UFC stock will grow even larger. The New Zealand native still has a lot of stuff to work on if he wants to challenge for a UFC title in 2019, but he has already begun to make significant progress.