'I might even drag him to the ground' - Kiwi fighter Israel Adesanya plots to prove MMA punters wrong

Kiwi middleweight MMA star Israel Adesanya is known as an excellent striker on his feet, but has hinted he might showcase his ground game against US opponent Derek Brunson this Sunday in Madison Square Garden in New York.

The 29-year-old Nigeria-born fighter has had an ongoing feud with Brunson since July, when he was called out by the American on social media.

Adesanya is undefeated in mixed martial arts and backs his ground game against his sixth-ranked opponent in their upcoming bout at UFC 230.

"I'm going to win regardless, even if he gets me on the ground, I might even drag him to the ground," said Adesanya.

"People get twisted, they think like 'he's just a striker,' the reason why I came into to MMA was because of my ego.

"I was a kickboxer, I did a little bit of boxing, I knew in my heart and knew in my soul like a guy with a different style could probably take me out if didn’t know what I was really doing on the ground.

"Definitely I am well versed in this game, you have to be - this is mixed martial arts. This is not kickboxing or boxing, this is mixed martial arts and we are in the UFC."

Come Sunday, just his fourth fight in the UFC, the Kiwi fighter says he will unleash against his American rival.

"I don't really worry about what he is going to do, what my opponent is going to do. I just focus on me, we focus on what we are going to do and how we are going to implement our game."

Nicknamed the Last Stylebender, Adesanya says he is not in the fighting game for fame, but knows his swagger and style has been getting a lot of traction from UFC fans.

"I'm Mr world wide at the end of the day, I speak Chinese, I speak Yoruba, I sound Kiwi with slang – I have a little bit of British lingo as well," he said.

"I'm Mr world wide so I don't really care if they (fans) get behind me I don't care what land or nation gets behind me.

"As long as individuals, if anyone messes with me - if you like the message I am bringing, get behind me and I'll mess with you as well."

Adesanya is ranked ninth in the UFC middleweight division, with a perfect record of 14 wins in MMA. A dominant win against Brunson will inch the Kiwi closer to a title fight with current Aussie middleweight champ Robert Whittaker. 

MMA middleweight Adesanya is set to fight American fighter Derek Brunson in New York at the famous sporting venue Madison Square Garden. Source: 1 NEWS

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