The Book of Israel: Meet the Kill Cliff FIGHT CLUB Fighter
While still very young, UFC Middleweight champ Israel Adesanya has had a long and storied career in MMA, kickboxing, and boxing. But Izzy had done far more than punch and pummel in his lifetime. We’ve collected a few things you might not know about the proud Kill Cliff FIGHT CLUB Fighter. Starting with…
…His Full Name:
He goes by Izzy, but Izzy’s real, complete, spellchecked name is as follows: Israel Mobolaji Temitayo Odunayo Oluwafemi Owolabi Adesanya. We call him Izzy, but he also goes by…
It’s no secret Adesanya is a huge Japanese anime fan. In fact, he has hinted at starting an anime production company once he retires from the fight game. He’s such a fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which aired on television from 2005 to 2008, Adesanya came to be called “The Last Stylebender,” an homage to Airbender and a reference to his always-changing fight strategies. “I just related to the characters and the message of the show,” he said, eventually coming to the conclusion, “I’m the Avatar of this world.”
To drive home his devotion to Airbender, Avatar, and all things anime, he had the Avatar character Toph Beifong tattooed on the inside of his left forearm (yes, the blind, telepathic girl who is an “earthbender” and navigates the world by the soles of her feet). But it wasn’t his first tat. No, that one would be…
…A Reference to a Dance Crew:
When he was 22, Adesanya, which he admits alarmed his mother, had the ALL CAPS words “BROKEN NATIVE” tattooed across his chest and a massive image of the continent of Africa on his sternum, with the country of Nigeria highlighted. But “broken native” did not originally mean what it alludes to these days—the idea of a displaced African trying to find his way in foreign cultures. No, broken native was the name of the dance crew he worked with in New Zealand. “I feel like Superman when I walk in,” he says of the chest tats. Other body illustrations include a werewolf, Calvin & Hobbes, Marvel’s Deadpool (“he heals fast, like I do”), and his dog Millionaire (no longer with him). A massive Chinese dragon is taking shape on his back. Naturally, the African references point to his nationality, which is…
Adesanya was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on July 22, 1989; his father was an accountant, his mother was a nurse, and he was the oldest of five kids. They moved to Ghana before finally settling in Rotorua, a city of 58,000 sitting atop a lush volcanic landscape on the north island of New Zealand, when he was 10 years old. Did young Izzy take up rugby, the Kiwi national pastime? No he did not: He was too busy dancing and playing anime games such as Naruto and Death Note. So when did he get into fighting? When he was a college student at Universal College of Learning in Whanganui; he was studying computer design. During that time, he got into combat fighting, inspired by…
…Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior (2003):
Yes, the great Tony Jaa martial arts movie in which Jaa’s sole mission was to bring back the severed head of a cherished statue, gave 18-year-old Izzy the idea to try kickboxing. Upon finding out he was, you know, kind of good at this—32-0 was his amateur record—he left school to turn pro in China. At 21, he returned to New Zealand and began training in Auckland where he lives now. He signed to the UFC in 2017. New Zealand is also known as the home of the…
Which explains the Limited Edition “Tekilla Kiwi” Kill Cliff Ignite kiwi green tumbler and graphic tee created in Izzy’s honor. “The Last Stylebender Strikes Again!”
The Last Stylebender made his debut with a TKO vs. James Griffiths on March 24, 2012. Here’s his record since then.
He’s on Insta…:
Feel free to connect: https://www.instagram.com/stylebender/
Not surprising, but Adesanya is multilingual. He is fluent in the West African language Yoruba, the slangy Nigerian Pidgin, and mellifluous English. No, really. We like to hear him talk as much as we like to see him fight.
Izzy is 6-feet-4.
UFC’s Dana White famously told Izzy the former dancer he could not do a choreographed walkout as long as he was in charge.
Adesanya endorsed the 2020 cannabis referendum in New Zealand. The referendum lost by a narrow margin.
In addition to being a Kill Cliff Badassador, he has a sponsorship deal with Puma and an ambassadorship with Stake.com, a bitcoin gambling site.
Izzy was born Saturday, July 22, 1989 which makes him a Cancer in the zodiac and a Snake on the Chinese calendar. In news surely that will tickle Izzy, if he’s ticklish, anime classic Dragon Ball Z debuted that spring.
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