‘They’ve Taken a Lot of Gold from Africa’- Israel Adesanya Calls Out Kamaru Usman and Other Africans at UFC for Inspiring African People

Published 03/03/2021, 11:04 AM EST
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 05: UFC interim middleweight champion Israel Adesanya of New Zealand poses for the media during the UFC seasonal press conference at T-Mobile Arena on July 5, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Israel Adesanya is looking to become the first African-born double champion in UFC history. There haven’t been many double-champions in the UFC period, so this accomplishment is something that ‘Izzy’ will hold dear to his heart. Adesanya, who has spoken about the pride he feels for his heritage repeatedly, has done that again in his latest interview.

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Ahead of his light heavyweight title challenge against Jan Blachowicz and Francis Ngannou’s rematch against Stipe Miocic for heavyweight gold, Adesanya spoke about the importance of African-born UFC Champions. The other champion in question is welterweight king Kamaru Usman.

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“I just like the look of that. I think of the powerful image of three, I used to say three, but I’m gonna correct myself and say four African-born UFC Champions, side by side, united in strength. Like I’ve said before, they’ve taken a lot of gold from Africa, so it’s time to take some gold back to Africa. We’ve been doing that, so adding two new collections to our gold will be very nice. We can stand United and shine and inspire our people.

Israel Adesanya: Leading the wave of new African champions in the UFC?

While Israel Adesanya isn’t the first African-born champion in the UFC, he is one of the most notable. Kamaru Usman won his welterweight title a few months prior to Izzy capturing the middleweight championship. Francis Ngannou has failed to challenge Stipe once before, but will look for better luck this time.

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ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 13: (L-R) UFC President Dana White places the interim middleweight championship belt on Israel Adesanya after defeating Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision in their interim middleweight championship bout during the UFC 236 event at State Farm Arena on April 13, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

If Adesanya and Ngannou win their respective title matches, the four heaviest weight divisions will have African champions. Usman is at 170, Izzy would be at both 185 and 205, while Ngannou would reign as the king of the heavyweights. That is quite remarkable considering how quickly these fighters have risen to the top.

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Adesanya counts his New Zealand heritage along with his Nigerian heritage. However, he was just brought up in New Zealand. He represents his African roots with every chance he gets and seems very connected to that tradition. Now, he serves as an example for African-born UFC fighters for what they can achieve in the sport, along with Usman and possibly Ngannou.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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