Everything you need to know about mixed martial artist and former two-time UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
|Born:||22nd July 1989|
|Resides:||Auckland, New Zealand|
|UFC Record:||13-3 (5KO)|
|MMA Record:||24-3 (16KO)|
The rivalry of Adesanya and Alex Pereira stretches back to their kickboxing days when Pereira twice claimed victory over Adesanya, which meant there was plenty of history already between the two before they locked horns for the UFC middleweight championship at Madison Square Garden in November 2022.
Adesanya was the five-time defending middleweight champion heading into the bout and had never previously lost in the division, but he suffered a fifth round, technical knockout defeat to Pereira at UFC 281 in New York.
However, the 34-year-old gained his revenge on Pereira and reclaimed his belt the following April at UFC 287, as he recorded a knockout success in the second round, an effort that also earned him the Performance of the Night award.
Pereira has since made the step up to the light heavyweight division and after claiming the vacant UFC light heavyweight championship with his own second-round stoppage of Jiri Prochazka at UFC 295 on November 11th, 2023, the Brazilian called out Adesanya and urged him to make the step up to 205 pounds.
Adesanya has seemingly turned down that request and it could be some time before we see the Kiwi step into the Octagon once again.
Israel Adesanya's fight is not yet known and it will likely be a while until we see him back in action.
After regaining his middleweight belt from Pereira in April 2023, Adesanya returned to the Octagon to mount the first defence of his title against American Sean Strickland at UFC 293 the following September.
In what was not quite a home fight - the event was held in Sydney, Australia - Adesanya was the heavy favourite to retain his belt, but he was upset by Strickland, who won via unanimous decision.
Following the defeat, which was Adesanya's fourth title fight in little over 14 months, the Last Stylebender confirmed his plans to take an extended break from the sport, telling New Zealand's "The Rock" radio show that he doesn't intend to fight for a "long time".
Adesanya did insist he is not retiring, but having seemingly turned down the chance to move up to the light heavyweight division to reignite his rivalry with Pereira, it could be some time before we see him headlining a UFC event again.
Adesanya had already carved out a successful MMA career for himself prior to signing his first contract with the UFC in December 2017, as he had won all 11 of his professional fights via KO or TKO.
The Last Stylebender's debut with the UFC came when he faced Rob Wilkinson in a middleweight contest at UFC 221 in February 2018 and he certainly impressed, claiming a second-round stoppage that earned him the Performance of the Night.
Victories over Marvin Vettori, Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson and Anderson Silva then followed for Adesanya before he landed the interim UFC middleweight championship title with a unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236.
That victory over Gastelum earned Adesanya the opportunity to unify the middleweight division against then title holder Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in October 2019, a chance he did not pass up.
Adesanya stopped Whittaker within two rounds in Melbourne to take the title and extend his MMA record to 18-0.
That quickly became 20-0 as Adesanya put up two successful defences of his belt, first claiming a unanimous decision victory over Yoel Romero before beating Paulo Costa via TKO.
Following his victory over Costa, Adesanya made the step up to light heavyweight and debuted in the division against Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight championship as the headline event at UFC 259.
Weighing in at five pounds under the 205 limit, Adesanya went on to lose for the first time in his professional MMA career, going down via unanimous decision as Blachowicz defended his belt.
Adesanya quickly returned to middleweight level where he defended his title in that division in rematches with Vettori and Whittaker before seeing off Jared Cannonier in July 2022.
Defeat to Pereira then ended his reign as middleweight king and the loss to Strickland means it is two defeats in three for the Last Stylebender, although he still boasts an impressive 24-3 MMA record.
The big question is what next for Adesanya and when? Will he look to regain his middleweight crown, take up Pereira's offer to return to light heavyweight, or will he ultimately hang up his gloves?
Adesanya has an estimated net worth of $4m and is believed to be one of the highest-paid athletes in the UFC.
Fellow Kiwi Eugene Bareman is Adesanya's trainer and he brings with him a wealth of experience as a former MMA fighter and kickboxer himself.