Israel Adesanya has often been criticized for his ground game. The proficient striker and former kickboxer reign as the undisputed middleweight champion of the world. Earlier, in the lead-up to his title defense against Paulo Costa, the “Stylebender” was ridiculed for his lack of skills on the ground. Costa went to the length of hurling a white belt on Adesanya during the heated face-off ahead of the match-up. Needless to say, Adesanya feels otherwise.
Recently, Israel Adesanya was awarded the purple belt in BJJ and the middleweight champion couldn’t hold his emotions at such a special moment. The “Stylebender” was a blue belt in BJJ and has now gone a rank above to hold the coveted purple belt.
He has often stated that he wants his opponents to shoot at him, so he can display his ground game. However, Adesanya continues to dominate his opponents with his exceptional striking prowess that has taken down the likes of Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, Robert Whittaker among others.
“From the first day, I enrolled him, I trained him. It’s amazing how much he put into a martial art. He is the best at what he does. Every time this man fights, he has a 95% chance to win a fight.”
Needless to say, Israel Adesanya was emotional at the sudden turns of events. Years of hard work and training finally paid off for the middleweight champion as far as his BJJ was concerned, and one would hope we get to see his ground game in the coming time.
What’s next for Israel Adesanya?
Israel Adesanya is set to take on Jan Blachowicz in what looks like a verbal agreement as of today. Blachowicz has expressed his interest in fighting the undefeated UFC fighter and will look to become the first fighter to hand a loss to Adesanya. Meanwhile, Israel Adesanya could become the first fighter to simultaneously hold the middleweight and light-heavyweight champion should he triumph over the “Polish Power.”
It will be easier said than done. Only time will tell what lies ahead for the middleweight champion. The future looks bright for both the division and the UFC who have several hugely anticipated match-ups scheduled for 2021.