At UFC 230 on Saturday night, Israel Adesanya once again showed his superstar potential as he quickly disposed of top 10 UFC middleweight contender Derek Brunson with a first round TKO.
The victory was so impressive, it caught the attention of UFC president Dana White.
At the UFC 230 post fight press conference, White was asked questions about the undefeated Nigerian’s jaw dropping victory over Brunson.
“Israel has been a guy who has been on the rise here for a minute, but I really felt like tonight was his first big test,” White said. “His opponent hits like a truck and wrestles really well, and Madison Square Garden, opening the show, man, did he deliver. Many people — including me — think this kid is the future, and he went out and put a stamp on it tonight.”
With the win over Brunson, Adesanya has now won all four of his UFC fights.
It’s hard to believe that Israel Adesanya just made his UFC debut earlier this year that saw him get a second round TKO victory over Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221.
He then followed that up with a split decision win against Marvin Vettori that had many questioning just how good Adesanya really was, but then the young dynamic striker redeemed himself, with a convincing dominate victory over UFC veteran Brad Tavares in July.
As a decorated kickboxer, in addition to him competing in MMA, Israel Adesanya entered the UFC with a considerable fan base and so far, Dana White has been pretty pleased with what he’s seen from him.
“The minute I saw this kid, I was like, holy shit this is really good, I like this,” White said. “Then you hear him talk, I like that too. He’s the whole package. He is very ambitious, I would like him to pump the brakes a little bit. This guy wants to f*cking fight everybody right now and he wants to fight every month, which I love.
“Listen, you want to become a big star? Keep fighting. If you’re a young guy who’s healthy enough to fight all the time, I absolutely advise it. Do it. What you don’t want to do is put on a great performance and disappear because people forget real quickly. But yeah, I like him very, very much and I don’t want to move him as fast as he wants to be moved, so he and I will get together and find a happy medium.”
That happy medium White is referring to, could eventually see Adesanya involved in a possible match up with a former UFC middleweight champion and legend that a lot of people have drawn Adesanya in comparison with in Anderson Silva, or a maybe fight with another former UFC middleweight champion in Luke Rockhold, or perhaps even a short notice replacement of either current UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker or number one contender Kelvin Gastelum should something crazy happen before their rumored February encounter.
Despite being presented those names, White reluctantly dodged giving a direct answer, stating nothing has been made official, and that he already has a particular opponent in mind for the undefeated Adesanya.
What he did say however, is that Adesanya’s victory over Brunson Saturday night undoubtedly guaranteed that a quality marquee fight is up next for him.
“He came out tonight and put the stamp on it,” White said. “He came out and really looked good tonight. If you look at how good he’s looked in his other fights, he didn’t even finish. He finished Derek Brunson tonight. It’s a big deal.”