ISRAEL ADESANYA consolidated his transition from Subsequent Massive Factor to bona fide UFC celebrity as he gained Fighter of the 12 months for the second yr working.
The UFC middleweight champion picked up the honour at the 2020 World MMA Awards, so as to add to his 2019 crown, pipping the likes of undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Israel Adesanya gained the 2020 Fighter of the 12 months awardCredit score: Getty Photos – Getty
Adesanya obtained the nod for the second yr in a row
Ever since Adesanya’s transition from kickboxing world champion to UFC newcomer in 2018, he has threatened to be the subsequent world attraction.
Inside one yr he was already undisputed champion, preventing a tremendous seven instances, and successful SIX efficiency or battle of the evening bonuses.
With that form of exercise and pleasure it was solely a matter of time till Adesanya, 31, was thought of among the many sport’s elite figures.
Legendary pair Anderson Silva, 45, and Georges St-Pierre, 39, had already conceded their titles as UFC poster boys to the brand new age of stars.
Jon Jones, 33, has since maintained his argument as pound-for-pound king regardless of his private battles outdoors the cage.
Conor McGregor, 32, cemented himself as prime canine nearly immediately having loved a meteoric rise since his 2013 debut.
However, with simply two fights, and just one victory, for the reason that Irishman gained the 2016 Fighter of the 12 months, inconsistency has hampered his dominance.
The New Zealander is the UFC middleweight champion Credit score: Getty Photos – Getty
That’s the place arch rival Khabib, 32, shone, as he dethroned McGregor as light-weight champion in 2018.
Nurmagomedov, now 29-0 and current P4P No1, gave the impression to be respiratory down McGregor’s subsequent because the UFC’s new face.
The Russian hero had the large fanbase and successful document to face out above the remaining however introduced a shock retirement in October – unable to fight on without the backing of his influential father, who handed away in July.
With Khabib, McGregor and Jones all proving to have unsure futures, Adesanya – who was additionally named Worldwide Fighter of the 12 months – is racing away from the pack as a consequence of his performances out and in of the cage.
In addition to preventing steadily, he’s taking on the most effective in his division, with wins over ex-champions or title contenders in Silva, Kelvin Gastelum and Robert Whittaker.
Adesanya beat UFC legend Anderson Silva Credit score: Getty Photos – Getty
Adesanya knocked out Paulo Costa Credit score: Getty Photos – Getty
And as champion he has confronted the true No1 contenders in each Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa.
Not solely is he racking up the wins, he’s doing so in type.
His flashy skillset and killer intuition make for a real pay-per-view standout, with followers nearly assured an thrilling battle.
And, in addition to strolling the stroll within the octagon, Adesanya – who’s unbeaten in 20 fights – proves worth for cash within the construct up.
His fast wit and supreme confidence has helped construct his character, one thing followers will put money into both to like or detest.
Like McGregor, Adesanya has an equally lengthy highlight-reel of trash speak and knockouts.
His recognition was so nice that he joined Jorge Masvidal, 36, on the cover of UFC 4 – the most recent version of their online game.
And this November he offered commendatory for Mike Tyson’s comeback battle towards Roy Jones Jr.
Jorge Masvidal on the UFC 4 cowl with Adesanya
Adesanya offered commentary for Mike Tyson’s comeback
With Khabib insisting he has no interest in reversing his retirement, Jones and Adesanya sit atop of the P4P rankings.
And it appears becoming that UFC president Dana White admitted the one fight he wants to see most in 2021 would be between the rivals.
Adesanya can not be thought of one for the long run – as an alternative a star of the current.
Ought to he achieve success in shifting as much as light-heavyweight, the place he is because of problem newly topped champion Jan Blachowicz, it can solely enhances his case because the UFC’s No1.
Then, if he was to settle the rating with Jones, it gives the proper passing of the torch battle for Adesanya, who might surpass the American all-time nice.
At this level, like has been the case with Jones and McGregor prior to now, solely Adesanya himself can derail his ever-growing momentium.
And with the fitting fights subsequent yr, it could possibly be the yr Stylebender turns potential into supremacy as he finds himself inside touching distance of superstardom.