Israel Adesanya caused quite the stir in the combat sports world last week with his special entrance at UFC 243 before going on to knock out Robert Whittaker to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion.
Adesanya’s highlights, which could even be traced back to his UFC debut last year, and beyond, have left a former UFC middleweight champion, Michael Bisping, in awe.
On a recent edition of his Believe You Me podcast, Bisping says Adesanya has been a fast-rising star and very well may be on his way to becoming the biggest star in the UFC.
In fact, he says there’s a chance “The Last Stylebender” could surpass Conor McGregor’s star power.
“He’s a star, he’s got charisma, all that type of stuff,” Bisping said. “And right now he’s poised to set to be possibly the biggest star in the UFC. He could even overtake McGregor at this rate. He really could. Well for one, he hasn’t got the negativity surrounding him. He hasn’t made all the mistakes. Now, who knows? He might go down that route, but I doubt it.”
Adesanya split his time between MMA, kickboxing and boxing until mid-2017, when he focused solely on MMA. He made his UFC debut at UFC 221 in 2018 and went on to score plenty of highlights in his young Octagon career already.
Adesanya defeated Derek Brunson in impressive fashion at UFC 230, bested Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 234 and had a Fight of the Year candidate with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 before facing Whittaker.
But Bisping has been left even more impressed by how Adesanya handles himself outside the cage.
“He really went up in my estimations when we had the Hall of Fame ceremony,” Bisping said. “He was sat there, I don’t know if he was by himself, I’m sure he was with somebody. But when the cameras went on him, he seemed to be just in there paying respect to the Hall of Famers. I mean I like the guy anyway. He’s always entertaining when he fights, brings it every time. He’s entertaining on the mic. On Instagram, he’s very, very funny. He’s got an awesome account, you need to follow that.
“But just the fact he was there at International Fight Week, he went and paid his respects to people being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I thought, ‘wow that speaks volumes about the man.'”
Quotes via MMA Mania