Israel Adesanya’s Career Was Inspired After He Saw ‘Skinny Black Guy’ Anderson Silva Kicking Ass
“Sorry man, I was just helping an old lady out with a package.”
Israel Adesanya isn’t just one of the hottest prospects in the UFC, he’s also a role model citizen if this brief pause in our discussion was anything to go by. Perhaps you could say, he’s a “good c***” a heart.
Since making his debut at UFC 221 three weeks ago, Adesanya has got the attention of the press worldwide after his incredible display of diverse and ruthless striking. His finish of Rob Wilkinson in Perth was a near perfect demonstration of how he can mix influences of Muay Thai, kickboxing, boxing and MMA striking into one, and the hammer fists to the body to close the show were as innovative as they were deadly.
Striking this unique has arguably not been seen since the early days when Anderson Silva exploded onto the scene and unsurprisingly, it’s the Brazilian who Adesanya says was a key influence for him as a martial artist.
“Anderson Silva was a guy I looked up to growing up because when I was younger, everyone had this perception that you had to be this big macho man to be a fighter and what not, but me, when I saw Anderson Silva fight I was like ‘who the f*** is this skinny black guy kicking everyone’s ass?’
“He ran through his division and I looked up to him then and I still do now. He’s a legend in this game despite all the bulls*** that’s been happening. I respect him a lot.”
Whilst the odds of the two ever crossing paths is unlikely now because of Silva’s latest run in with the USASA anti-doping program, it’s not been totally inconceivable that a fight between them could’ve happened. The respect Adesanya has for Silva is very clear, but in the dog-eat-dog world that the two play in, even Silva wouldn’t be safe from the UFC’s newest middleweight prospect.
“I respect him so much man,” Adesanya said. “I think his next suspension could be like four years or something like that and I don’t think it’s possible he comes back at like 50-years-old or something like that.
“I’m a fan, but let’s get this straight. Just because I’m a fan it doesn’t mean you can’t catch these hands.
Adesanya’s desire to entertain with his fighting style is more than apparent in the way he goes about his business and it’s been that way since he started his fighting career. Going forward, he says he doesn’t mind whether the fans love him or hate him, he just wants them to be invested in what he’s doing.
“I used to dance and I’ve always been an entertainer,” Adesanya said. “I’ve always loved amazing people and making them go ‘wow.’ I’ve always had that and I’ll always remember this moment after like my fourth fight in kickboxing, I was young and I fought in this small town in New Zealand. After the fight, this little old lady came up to me and she said ‘out of all the fights, I enjoyed yours the most because you made me laugh, it was brilliant.’
“That me feel brilliant. That’s what I’m trying to do. I love entertaining people. It’s in me. Perhaps it’s because I’ve got Nigerian blood in me that I’m flamboyant and fairy? That feeling when the crowd roars and even if they boo, it’s all energy. I let them know, ‘hey I can handle you guys.’ Give me any type of energy you can give and I’ll adapt to it.”
Adesanya fights next at UFC Glendale on April 14 when he faces Marvin Vettori.