This article on Israel Adesanya biography facts presents an analysis of the early life/childhood, martial arts career, and the personal life of one of MMA’s finest and talented stars.
Israel Mobolaji Temitayo Odunayo Oluwafemi Owolabi Adesanya (born July 22, 1989) is a professional mixed martial artist, a former boxer, and kickboxer who is Nigerian-born but is based in New Zealand.
Nicknamed The Last Stylebender, Israel Adesanya is one of the growing numbers of Nigerians in Mixed Martial Arts who are making the country proud.
Adesanya’s antics in MMA have catapulted him to a position reserved for only the best in the sport.
With a record of 20 wins and only one loss, Israel Adesanya is on track to establish a reputation that will place him as an MMA legend.
His aggressive fighting style, and confidence in facing opponents, as seen from his antics in the octagon and his interviews, gives off a fearless persona, a core feature that has endeared him to multiple MMA fans.
Not only Israel’s persona makes him intimidating, but his record makes opponents get cold feet.
Of his 20 wins, Israel has defeated his opponent by Knock Out on 15 occasions.
His kickboxing and boxing career has probably helped him solidly build his MMA record; one certain thing is that Israel Adesanya is no average MMA fighter.
Israel Adesanya Biography Facts
- Full Name: Israel Mobolaji Temitayo Odunayo Oluwafemi Owolabi Adesanya
- Nickname: The Last Stylebender
- Date of Birth: July 22, 1989 (age 33 years)
- Place of Birth: Lagos, Nigeria
- Nationality: Nigerian, New Zealander
- Weight: 91 kg (201 lb; 14 st 5 lb)
- Height: 193 cm (6 ft 4 in)
- Reach: 80 in (203 cm)
- Division: Middleweight (2012–present); Light Heavyweight (2021)
- Education: Chrisland School, The Bells Secondary School, Rotorua High School, Universal College of Learning in Whanganui
- Father: Femi Adesanya
- Mother: Taiwo Adesanya
- Siblings: Deborah Adesanya, Samuel Adesanya, David Adesanya, Bolu Adesanya
- Marital Status: Single
- Team: City Kickboxing (2010–present)
- Sport: Mixed Martial Arts
- Active: 2009–present
- Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Israel Adesanya Childhood & Early Life
On 22 July 1989, Israel Adesanya was born to his parents Femi Adesanya (father) – an accountant, and Taiwo Adesanya (mother) – a nurse.
Israel Adesanya was the first child of five children born to the couple.
Being the first child of a well-to-do family, Israel Adesanya lacked nothing in education and welfare.
As a young child growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, Israel Adesanya participated in Taekwondo.
However, his Taekwondo training came to a halt after he sustained a fracture in his arm, which prompted his mother to withdraw him from training.
Israel Adesanya had his elementary education at Chrisland School, located at Opebi, Lagos, before going on to The Bells Secondary School, Ota, Ogun State.
While in high school, Israel dabbled into dancing, a key element that forms his fighting style.
Following the aftermath of the 9/11 attack in the US, Adesanya’s parents, who had already planned to immigrate to the US, began reconsidering their decision.
They first moved to Ghana, where they spent ten months deliberating on moving to the US or New Zealand.
The Adesanya’s eventually decided to relocate to New Zealand and then settled in Rotorua.
In New Zealand, Adesanya, already a teenager, enrolled at Rotorua High School, where he completed his high school education.
Adesanya was frequently bullied while in high school, which informed his decision to take martial arts seriously later on in life.
After completing his secondary school education, Adesanya went on to the Universal College of Learning in Whanganui, where he enrolled in a Bachelor of Science in Computer Design.
While in college, he began kickboxing after watching the 2003 Thai martial arts movie, Ong-Bak.
Two years after he started kickboxing, Adesanya decided to discontinue his secular education and face his kickboxing career squarely.
Israel Adesanya Kickboxing Career
After dropping out to face kickboxing Adesanya, fought in 32 amateur hours and won them all.
He then went on to turn pro and moved to China to fight.
Adesanya won his debut fight and recorded an impressive winning streak which led him to the 2014 Kunlun Fight 80kg tournament, where he was eliminated in the semifinal.
He then faced Belgian kickboxer Filip Verlinden in his Glory 15 debut, which he lost.
However, three months later, in a rematch at Glory of Heroes 3, Adesanya avenged his loss.
Adesanya went on to win the King in the Ring Cruiserweights II, 5 Cruiserweights III, and The Heavyweight tournaments.
Adesanya participated in the Glory Middleweight championship, which he won, though the final was controversial.
Adesanya faced Alex Pereria at Glory of Heroes 7 in his last kickboxing bout.
Professional Kickboxing Record
|80 matches||75 wins||5 losses|
Israel Adesanya Boxing Career
After transitioning to boxing, Adesanya went on to face Daniel Ammann, a two-time Australian champion at the inaugural cruiserweight Super 8 Boxing Tournament in 2014.
He lost his boxing debut via a controversial unanimous decision.
Adesanya re-entered the tournament and defeated American professional boxer, Brian Minto, to claim the tournament.
He went on to defend his cruiserweight title at the 2015 Super 8 Cruiserweight tournament.
Professional Boxing Record
|6 matches||5 wins||1 losses|
Israel Adesanya Mixed Martial Arts Career
In 2012, Adesanya made his MMA debut against James Griffiths, which he won via TKO.
He went on to win one more bout before going on a two-year-long hiatus to focus on boxing.
In August 2015, he returned to the Octagon and went on to record an 8-0 winning streak, during which he claimed the Hex Fight Series Middleweight Championship and AFC Middleweight Championship.
In December 2017, Adesanya joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) family.
In February 2018, Adesanya went on to face Australian Mixed Martial Artist Rob Wilkinson in his MMA debut, which he won via TKO.
He also earned the Performance of the Night bonus.
Adesanya went on to win his next three bouts while earning Performance of the Night in his third and fourth bouts.
In February 2019, Adesanya locked horns with Anderson Silva, former UFC Middleweight Champion, in UFC 234, which he won, and claimed the Fight of the Night award with his competitor.
Adesanya then went on to put forth a stellar performance at the interim UFC Middleweight Championship against America Mixed Martial Artist Kelvin Gastelum, which earned him another Fight of the Night award.
The fight was regarded as one of the best of 2019 and earned him nominations for best Fight of the Year.
He ended 2019 in a unification bout against Robert Whittaker for the UFC Middleweight Championship, which he won.
His first bout of 2020, which was against Yoel Romero, a three-time UFC title contender, ended with disappointments, as the fight was largely uneventful.
Adesanya’s next fight was against Paulo Costa, an undefeated MMA fighter.
The bout was highly anticipated, as it was the first time two undefeated UFC fighters would lock on in the Octagon since 2009.
He won the bout and earned his fifth Performance of the Night award.
Adesanya faced polish Mixed Martial Artist Jan Błachowicz for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship at UFC 259 on March 6th, 2021.
Błachowicz won the fight via a unanimous decision, making it the first time Adesanya would be defeated in his MMA career.
Professional MMA Record
|21 matches||20 wins||1 loss|
Video: Best of Israel Adesanya in the UFC
Israel Adesanya Personal Life
Adesanya had a cat, which died, and he had to get a new one because of his “girl.”
Adesanya keeps his personal life from the spotlight, and as a result, it’s been difficult to determine if the famous Mixed Martial Artist is in a relationship.
In interviews, Adesanya has revealed he has a “girl.”
Israel Adesanya is the eldest of five children.
His four siblings are Deborah and Samuel, who are both nurses; David, an accountant; and Bolu, who is currently a student.
Adesanya traces his roots to Odogbolu, in Ogun State, through his father’s ancestry.
Adesanya has a tattoo of Africa on his body, with Nigeria outlined.
Israel Adesanya’s catchphrase is “The Broken Native,” which he uses to refer to his uniqueness.
Adesanya can speak his native Yoruba language, English, and pidgin English.
Though he was raised as a Christian, Adesanya does not practice any religion.
Adesanya’s moniker “The Last Stylebender” was coined from the Avatar Aang, the master of all elements in the American animated TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Just like Aang, Adesanya sees himself as the master of all elements in MMA.
Adesanya loves to dance — Before he defeated Whittaker, he treated fans to an amazing dance show.
Adesanya has a purple belt in Japanese Jiu-Jitsu.
Israel Adesanya Controversy
In 2019, Adesanya jumped up the cage to celebrate the win of MMA’s new recruit and fellow Nigerian Mixed Martial Artist, Sodiq Yusuf, over Adelaide native Suman Mokhtarian in Yusuf’s MMA debut.
The celebration infuriated Mokhtarian coaches, who felt his New Zealand counterpart’s defeat should sadden Adesanya.
However, Adesanya, who was taken aback by the coaches’ reactions, stood his ground and continued celebrating with his Nigerian brother.
In September 2020, after his much-anticipated fight against Paulo Costa, his visible gynecomastia on his right-breast generated reactions.
Adesanya, however, said that it was due to smoking too much weed.
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