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'Wonder, pride and joy' - Israel Adesanya reconnects with African roots with Nigeria trip after UFC title win

When Israel Adesanya beat Kelvin Gastelum for the interim UFC middleweight title last month, he made it clear he wouldn't just bring the belt to his adopted home of New Zealand, but also his homeland of Nigeria.

"They've taken a lot of gold away from Africa, it's time we take gold back to Africa," Adesanya said.

Sure enough, the Kiwi-Nigerian kept his word and took the belt to Lagos while reconnecting to his African roots.

The MMA fighter moved to New Zealand when he was 10-years-old as his parents sought a better education for him and his four siblings but he never forgot where he came from.

In fact, the trip helped him unlock some old memories as he visited his old primary school during the trip.

"So much emotion as I returned back to my old primary school. Everything felt so small to me as I strolled my former stomping grounds (because) I'm a big boy now, but I was filled with a different sense of wonder, pride and joy," he said on Instagram.

"I saw myself as each of those kids and I couldn't help but return to my child mind (not hard for me to do) and remember how I looked at the world at their ages. So many memories that I hadn't even thought of in over 20 years came flooding back like flashbacks."

For more on Israel Adesanya, read here:

Adesanya also spent time at Blessed Martin's Boxing Club at the National Stadium in Lagos, where he trained young children.

"It was a surreal, crazy and wonderful experience. I'll remember this feeling forever."

Adesanya is set to fight Kiwi-born Australian Robert Whittaker (who is the other middleweight UFC champion but has been sidelined with numerous injuries) later this year around August-September to find the division's true champion.


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