It was reported earlier on Wednesday that Adesanya has agreed to a new multi-fight deal with the UFC. This comes just days before his highly-anticipated rematch with Robert Whittaker at UFC 271.
Adesanya has become a household name for the UFC since even before his first fight with Whittaker. From his interim title win over Kelvin Gastelum to his latest title defenses over Marvin Vettori and Paulo Costa, fans have come to belove the 185-pound champion.
Adesanya’s head coach at City Kickboxing, Eugene Bareman, recently alluded to his stance that he feels the UFC could do more to promote one of their biggest stars on the roster. He feels that the UFC has underpromoted his star pupil in the past.
During his UFC 271 media day press conference, Adesanya was asked whether or not he feels valued now after signing a new contract.
“100%. That’s the thing. The thing I want to know is, what’s my value to the company?” Adesanya said. “You can’t undersell my value. If you are, you’re kidding yourself. I bring so many different looks to this company, even without trying.
“I’m Nigerian. I brought that whole nation. Me and the three kings, the continent of Africa is on our back. I wear it on my chest. We have the Oceania region looking at us. I’m a guy that crosses over to the mainstream so easily. And I have this appeal. I have that “it” thing. So I’m glad that the UFC is starting to see that.”
“They’ve already known that. They’ve known this since the jump. Dana knew this since the jump. But yeah, I’m just the guy who deals with my dealings with the UFC behind the scenes. And I’m glad that we came to an agreement with this new deal. And I look forward to this effect trickling down to the rest of the fighters.”
Adesanya is undefeated at middleweight after making the full-time move to MMA following an accomplished career in kickboxing. In their first matchup, Adesanya knocked out Whittaker to cement his status as the middleweight champion and one of the biggest stars in MMA. Adesanya’s lone blemish on his UFC record came against Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title at UFC 259.
Another win over Whittaker would continue Adesanya’s path of attempting to lap the division. The winner of another UFC 271 fight, Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson, will more than likely get the next title shot.
Where do you rank Israel Adesanya among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world?