“I Moved to New Zealand That Wasn’t So Nice”- Israel Adesanya Reflects Back on Being Picked on in School Because of This Reason

Published 02/12/2022, 6:09 AM EST

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Several UFC fighters have spoken about their rough childhood or the harsh environments they grew up in. Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya recently reflected upon his childhood. While he belonged to an affluent family in Nigeria, moving to New Zealand brought several challenges in front of ‘Izzy’.

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Speaking about himself, he said, “He grew up quite loved. And then there were bits when I moved to New Zealand that wasn’t so nice, you know, you’re the only black kid in the school and you just picked on and whatnot. It made me have to have the fortitude in myself and be able to handle adversity at a very young age every day.”

Further, it might be quite surprising to know that ‘The Last Stylebender’ wasn’t so competitive in school.

“I was never really competitive, I sucked at sports at school. I just played for having fun. So I wasn’t very competitive, but it was something I had to learn to survive and thrive.”

Adesanya also revealed that by watching Anderson Silva fight, he realized that he could do it too.

WATCH: Israel Adesanya Mocks His Haters During the Official Weigh-Ins of UFC 271

From watching ‘The Spider’ fight to actually winning against him, the fighter has come a long way. After defeating Silva through a unanimous decision, Adesanya earned his interim title fight against Kelvin Gastelum. He still remains undefeated in the middleweight division.

Israel Adesanya will enter the octagon for his fourth title defense at UFC 271

‘The Last Stylebender’ will face Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 on February 12 at Toyota Center, Texas. They first fought back at UFC 243 and Whittaker lost through a T/KO. Thus, their second bout is about to be smashing.

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Adesanya also recently signed a lucrative multi-fight deal with the promotion. Hence, if he wins this fight, it would be the icing on the cake.

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Moreover, apart from Jared Cannonier, Adesanya has already fought with most of the top-five ranked fighters in the division. So, if Adesanya successfully retains his title, it would be interesting to see whom he will next fight.

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Watch this story: WWE SmackDown Results: Fining Ronda Rousey Backfires, Roman Reigns Warns Goldberg, Charlotte Flair Retains, and More!

What are your thoughts on Israel Adesanya’s childhood?

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Written by:

Rohini Kottu

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Rohini Kottu is a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. She is also a Psychologist and has a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. Rohini, in her role as a UFC writer, combines her admiration for the mental resilience that MMA fighters have and her love for analysis.
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