Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya recently recalled the time when he was thinking of robbing a convenience store.
A lot of renowned mixed martial artists grew up poor and went through struggles and adversity before making it in the UFC. Another UFC champion, Charles Oliveira, grew up in the favelas, and Conor McGregor was a failing apprentice plumber.
Israel Adesanya’s past is not so different. At a young age, ‘The Last Stylebender’ had struggles despite of being successful competing in kickboxing. Adesanya revealed that he once considered robbing a corner store during a talk with Talk Sport.
“I remember just looking at this corner store and I was like, ‘I wish I could go in there and be like, ‘Look, just give me the money you have, I don’t want to hurt you, just give me.” Adesanya said.
Luckily, his morale got the better of him after a few seconds of pondering the thought. The 32-year-old Nigerian native also said he understood why people succumb to a life of crime.
“It was a fleeting thought and that made me empathize with people, this is why some of them do it. They just have no other choice.” Adesanya added.
Adesanya admitted that his family have helped him through hard times.
“This is one thing I loved about my parents, they always supported (me)… And a friend like Corbin as well, who was always in the clutch for me as well. People like that I keep around and I hold them dearly.” Adesanya said on All Goats TV.
Prior to signing with the UFC, he had only $300 to his name.
“I was just like check your phone, check your bank and I was like down to my last like 300. The company that I was working in China f—ed me over cause I had seven fights left in my contract, each fight at that time was like $25,000. And they just stopped giving me fights… So, I went to the UFC. Shout out to Engage though, they came in the clutch at that time… I wouldn’t have rent for either the next week or the week after.” Adesanya said.
Previously, Adesanya was vocal about how pay is a huge issue and called $12,000 contracts embarrassing.
“I’m not saying pay debutants some crazy money. I’m just saying pay them enough to be able to train, feed their family and not have a second or third job.”
Nowadays, Adesanya doesn’t really need to worry about financial issues. The 32-year-old athlete has prolonged his career and signed a lucrative deal with the UFC. According to his management team, it was one of the most lucrative deals in UFC history.
Adesanya successfully defended his title against Robert Whittaker in February. UFC has confirmed that Jared Cannonier is likely the next challenger to face Adesanya.