- Israel Adesanya is attracting comparisons to Conor McGregor.
- The Nigerian fighter just beat Robert Whittaker to win the UFC middleweight championship belt in style, knocking his opponent out in the second round.
- As ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani said: "Everything is in place for him to become one of the biggest stars this sport has ever seen."
- He will likely fight Paulo Costa next, a muscle-clad Brazilian who recently beat Yoel Romero.
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A 30-year-old Nigerian fighter is attracting comparisons to Conor McGregor because of his showmanship, flashy fighting style, and newfound championship status.
Israel Adesanya, nicknamed "The Last Stylebender," has been a professional fighter since 2012 and only competed in his first UFC bout in 2018. However, he is already a UFC middleweight champion after beating the former title holder Robert Whittaker by knockout at UFC 243 in Melbourne on Saturday.
The supreme confidence in his own abilities, the way he walks to the Octagon, and the devastating manner in which Adesanya dispatches of his opponents bear striking similarities to the UFC's last transcendant superstar athlete, McGregor.
"Not since Conor McGregor have we seen someone burst through the UFC doors like this," ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani said on October 6. "Everything is in place for him to become one of the biggest stars this sport has ever seen. The Last Stylebender era has officially begun."
Watch Adesanya's entrance to UFC 243 below:
—ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 6, 2019
His victory over Whittaker was just as entertaining as the entrance itself as Adesanya dropped his opponent with an accurate right hand to the jaw at the end of the first round, before knocking him out for good in the second.
"You see that entrance? Who else. I'm a born entertainer," he said on the post-event ESPN show on October 6. "I came here, rehearsed that with my boys, did the whole walk through to the cage, visualized [the win], and when I done it, it felt like deja vu. No nerves, nothing."
Adesenya will likely fight Paulo Costa next, a muscle-clad Brazilian fighter who recently beat Yoel Romero in a bout Business Insider described at the time as a "brutal battle between two fighters who looked like Greek Gods."
Unfazed by superlatives, Adesanya said "I want to make him my b—-," according to Bloody Elbow.