Most fighters hope their style gets labeled as something that resembles a killer like Jon Jones or strikes comparisons to the legend Anderson Silva, but not ‘Style Bender’ Israel Adesanya. While he may fit the body type and skill set, he’d rather you not disrespect them — or him for that matter — by constructing mental Venn diagrams of him and them. Going into his UFC debut tomorrow, he wants to showcase something completely new. He wants to showcase himself.
“Don’t insult [Jon Jones, Anderson Silva or Michael ‘Venom’ Page] or me by comparing us. I know what they’re trying to do, I know what they’re trying to say, but we’re different people. I watched Anderson Silva at UFC 90. I think it was my first pay-per-view I watched of him. Before that I watched some DVDs, but then UFC 90 I watched him live fight Patrick Cote. He used — probably in the first round — 10 different styles and then in the second round used telekinesis to dismantle [Cote’s] knee. I was like, who’s this skinny black guy?”
Everybody has this perception you have to be this Arnold Schwarzenegger lookin’ type dude to fight, then this skinny black guy comes and just runs through everyone. And that inspired me. I look up Anderson — still do, for years — but I’m not him. Definitely not. You’re dealing with a different beast. I’m a new age, new breed. I’ve got a different mindset as well. I learned a lot from those guys — Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, [Muhammad] Ali — from every walk of life, but when you see me in that cage, you’ll see that I’m a new breed.” — Israel Adesanya speaking to Submission Radio.