Israel Adesanya: New wave of African MMA stars ready to take over, including Du Plessis

UFC star Israel Adesanya was born in Nigeria and wears his pride for Africa on his sleeves. In a recent podcast appearance on ‘This Past Weekend w/ Theo Von,’ Adesanya spoke passionately about his roots and his vision for the future of African competitors.

Adesanya doesn’t just see himself as an individual contender, he sees himself as a representative of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. When discussing how there might be a new wave of African MMA contenders, he talked about how his African peers like Usman and Ngannou helped pave the way.

Adesanya stated: “Humbly I feel like guys like myself, Kamaru, and Francis, even before Sokoudjou, paved the way you know, for them to do that. And now Dricus du Plessis, he’s an African Champion. I would never ever take that away from him, even though he tried to do that from us. But yeah, so we’re paving the way for the next generation and I think, not even think. I know I’ve said this, once we grasp this MMA s**t, once we grasp it, cuz I’ve seen the talent out there…”

According to Adesanya, Africa is a goldmine of raw talent and untapped athletic potential. He believes that with the right resources – proper training, nutrition, and opportunities – Africans could not only compete but dominate on the global stage.

“There’s so many of them over there and they don’t even have the best nutrition. Sometimes they don’t have the best of you know what we have so… and now that they can see that’s happened, now there’s four African Champions that have come from the country or the continent of Africa, sorry it’s crazy.”

Adesanya was born in Lagos, Nigeria, before eventually emigrating to New Zealand. But he takes immense pride in representing his Nigerian background and African identity every time he steps into the octagon.