Israel Adesanya is making moves.
The budding UFC middleweight star sat down with UFC president Dana White recently in Sydney, Australia and together they both laid out a plan for his future, Adesanya told Submission Radio this week. White had his own ideas for what should be next for Adesanya, but Adesanya says the promoter now sees it his way.
“When I sit in front of someone, you can feel me, you can really understand what I’m saying, you can feel my passion,” Adesanya said. “So, it’s different than doing it over the phone. Yeah, he’s on board with my plan now and he likes it. I sold him the idea. You guys wait till everything comes to fruition. If the other guy says yes – I should say when he says yes – I don’t know, but I feel like when he says yes, it’s gonna be historic, it’s gonna be something that you guys are gonna buzz over it. And then later on, what I have planned after that, that’s gonna be sick as well. So yeah, in due time everything will unfold.”
Adesanya, 29, is remaining mum on the name of that opponent. But he seems to have cooled to the idea of being the backup fighter when Robert Whittaker defends his middleweight belt against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234 in February.
“I have a different plan,” Adesanya said. “My plan. It just feels like being a backup would … not jeopardize it. Yeah, just, I’d rather not. I have a different plan, let’s just put it that way. Eventually you guys will find out soon enough.”
Adesanya (15-0) is coming off an incredibly impressive first-round TKO of Derek Brunson at UFC 230 earlier this month. He’s 4-0 in the UFC now and has looked better just about every time. The Nigerian, by way of New Zealand, is known for his elite-level striking and has proven himself able to stop takedowns enough to show it off.
With things moving fast for his career, Adesanya — far and away the top contender for breakout fighter of the year — is staying ready. It seems like his return to the Octagon could be happening sooner, rather than later. He said he could fight at UFC 234, but there are premier cards quickly approaching, including UFC 232 on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas and the UFC’s ESPN+ debut Jan. 19 in Brooklyn.
“We’ll see,” Adesanya said. “I mean, there’s also the ESPN card coming up, there’s also the end of the year card coming up. You see, I’m still training, I don’t f*ck around.””
“The Last Style Bender” even had to push back a scheduled European vacation to keep training for what is next. It seems like his grand plan is close to coming to fruition.
“I just had to pull back a bit and realize like, look, you’re only here for a short time,” Adesanya said. “And I had a dream that kind of changed my mind on this fight and this plan. So yeah, I’m gonna put the Europe trip on the backburner. I’m still gonna go to my friend’s wedding and I’m just gonna put the whole Europe trip on the backburner until after the fight. Then I’m gonna do that.”
Seems like the right move, especially since White is now in on whatever Adesanya has brewing.
“We had the same opponent in mind but just he had a different plan of action,” Adesanya said. “So, as soon as I sold him my one, he was like, ‘Yup, I like that. I love it. Let’s go’. So, it’s different when I’m in front of you. Like, I’m not here to just f*ck around, I’m not here to just beat around the bush, I say what I say and I do what I do. So yeah, he understood and he’s a man. He’s got his own plans, not just for my fight, but for the UFC and onwards as well that you guys will find out later on.”