Despite the bloody faces and bruised egos that are pretty much a given when it comes to mixed martial arts (MMA), a number of Africans are hell-bent on making their mark in the brutal combat sport. Right now, the biggest one of them all is Israel Adesanya.
Born in Lagos, Adesanya moved to New Zealand with his family at the age of 13. At 18, he started training to become a kickboxer, but it wasn’t until 2012 that he made his professional debut – amassing a record of 11 wins and no losses.
In 2017, he signed with the world’s biggest MMA promotion company, UFC, and his career deservedly took off. So far, he’s been in five UFC fights, winning all and bagging the coveted 'Performance of the Night' award in three.
His biggest fight so far happened last Sunday. He went up against 43-year-old Brazilian, Anderson da Silva, whose status in MMA is nothing short of legendary. The 29-year-old won the fight in the third round, shocking many MMA fans.
While Adesanya is making waves globally, he still keeps in touch with his roots. In addition to having a map of Africa tattooed across his chest, he’s known to have celebrated a number of wins by dancing shaku shaku and gwara gwara in front of a global audience.