TODAY |

Israel Adesanya 'can fill stadiums anywhere', says UFC executive

Australia has lost it's only UFC champion but could get to see more of new superstar Israel Adesanya, after being called the world's best pound-for-pound market for the popular MMA brand.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The new UFC middleweight champion wants to leave his mark on history, although he admits he loves money. Source: 1 NEWS

The New Zealand based Nigerian became the undisputed UFC middleweight world champion with a stunning second-round knockout of Australia's Robert Whittaker.

Formerly the interim champion, 30 -year-old Adesanya underlined his star quality by ending Whittaker's nine-fight, five-year winning streak.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Adesanya is proud of his connections to both NZ and Nigeria but says there’s plenty of issues to address. Source: 1 NEWS

The show at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium drew 57,127 people, a UFC attendance world record, surpassing the previous best of 56,214 at the same venue almost four years ago.

"It's an incredible market for us, pound-for- pound the best in the world and we''re definitely back in Australia in 2020," said Lawrence Epstein, senior executive vice-president and chief operating officer of UFC

With his distinctive and entertaining and explosive style and ability to spruik a fight, Adesanya has emerged as one he big box office draws for the UFC.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The new UFC middleweight champion wants to leave his mark on history, although he admits he loves money. Source: 1 NEWS

Adesanya said Las Vegas or New Zealand could host his first defence, which could be against world No,2 ranked Paulo Costa of Brazil, who was at yesterday's fight.

However, Australia and especially Melbourne, a city in which Adesanya has now won four of 18 his MMA contests, is an option for his future fights.

"I think Israel Adesanya can fill stadiums anywhere in the world,"' Epstein said.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The Kiwi fighter said he needed his "thought-provoking" shower to analyse things. Source: 1 NEWS

"There's no doubt that this guy is gong to be a huge star, he's incredibly charismatic.

"He's got a fighting style that is really interesting and he's an incredible personality, so I think you're going to see him involved in a lot of big events in Vegas and Australia and who knows where else."

A defiant Whittaker is determined to bounce back from his first loss as a middleweight in the UFC.

"He beat me tonight but I'm 28 and this is my first loss in the division, I'm not going anywhere," Whittaker said.

''I am fortunate enough that I didn't leave the octagon with any injuries so I'll look to get back in there and get back to work."


More From