Dana White: Israel Adesanya has the “it” factor

Israel Adesanya is the name on most people’s lips when it comes to exciting middleweight prospects.

The Nigerian-born Kiwi did little to quell the hype with his unanimous decision win over Anderson Silva at UFC 234, and UFC President Dana White is rightly impressed.

“The kid’s got ‘it.’” White said at the UFC 234 post-fight press conference. [H/T MMA Fighting]

“He’s got that — not only is he talented in the Octagon, he’s talented outside of it too. His interviews are exciting, he’s an interesting guy. He’s fun to watch. And I think he’s got a really bright future here.”

A decorated kickboxer, Adesanya is currently unbeaten in his MMA career. “The Last Stylebender” has now headlined two UFC events, while stringing together a five-win run in the space of a year.

Adesanya’s unblemished 16-0 MMA record has yielded 13 knockout victims.

But it was the fight with Silva which cemented Adesanya’s star potential in White’s eyes.

“It was fun,” White said of the fight. “That first round was like a kung fu movie. It was a fun fight to watch, very fun. Two guys who are incredibly talented. I was saying yesterday, any oddsmakers that make Anderson Silva 7-to-1 is out of their mind. The guy’s always taking care of himself, he’s a great martial artist, and that was a fun fight.

“But Israel went in with a sold-out house tonight, a lot of pressure on him to go in against the guy — you know, Anderson’s [43] years old, he’s supposed to go in and beat Anderson, but those are the kind of positions you’re in that you’ve got a lot of pressure on you. Anderson even said, ‘All the pressure’s on him. There’s none on me.’”

Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes is an MMA writer who has covered the sport since 2013 for publications such as Vice Sports, Fightland, Sherdog and now Fighters Only, where he serves as freelance digital editor.