Israel Adesanya Already Knows Exactly What He’ll Do After He Retires From MMA

When it comes to UFC fighters, there may not be any as skilled as Israel Adesanya. The undefeated 185-pound middleweight champ now has his eyes set on winning the 205-pound light heavyweight belt, too. That being said, win or lose, Adesanya knows exactly what he wants to do after he finally retires from MMA.

Israel Adesanya’s MMA career so far

A decorated kickboxer, Nigerian-born Adesanya made his UFC debut in early 2018 by knocking out Rob Wilkinson. This was his 12th KO win in a row. UFC fans were certain he was the knockout artist who analysts said he was. But MMA isn’t just about striking. Soon, the UFC tested him by pairing him up against some wrestlers and grapplers. 

In quick succession, Adesanya passed each test the UFC gave him. By April 2019, just over a year after his UFC debut, Adesanya had racked up six wins in a row. He even won the interim middleweight belt. A few months later, he’d unify the middleweight division by dominating and KOing the real champ, Robert Whittaker. 

After that spectacular win, Adesanya made his intentions clear. He wasn’t going to avoid any fighters. He called out two of the scariest in the division, Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. Just like the rest of his foes, Adesanya made it look easy and defeated both of them. With an undefeated record of 20-0 as well as few contenders left to fight, he’s moving up a division to fight Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight strap. 

What Israel Adesanya wants to do after retiring

Israel Adesanya walks toward the Octagon
Israel Adesanya before his middleweight championship bout | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

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At 31, Adesanya has a bright future. Retirement is still likely a way’s away. Regardless, he’s planning ahead. The 31-year-old knows what he’ll do after he hangs up his gloves. As ESPN reports, Adesanya is a huge fan of anime and cartoons; he’s even executed anime moves in the octagon. Animation is his lifelong passion, and this is where he’s headed in retirement.

He told ESPN, “I wanted to be animator when I was growing up, I still will, I will have my own production company after fighting, and I will hire people who will actually bring my vision to life.” In fact, Adesanya was so obsessed with the animation behind movies and TV shows that he wouldn’t pay attention to the story. He explained:

“I used to watch Disney cartoons and I wouldn’t even watch the story sometimes; like Tarzan, I think by the fourth time I watched I finally got the story because I was just watching the fluidity of the animation, like when he’s going through the trees.”

Does Adesanya’s love for anime affect his fighting style?

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Adesanya’s attention to detail when it comes to anime and cartoons isn’t lost inside the octagon, either. Although, like he told ESPN, he can’t fight like his favorite anime characters, his attention to detail allows him to see what his opponents are doing ahead of time and adjust accordingly.

That’s how he ultimately shut down Costa, who many thought could KO Israel Adesanya. He was the smaller and skinnier fighter. But due to his impressive fight IQ, he practically beat Costa before the fight had even begun. His creative mind allowed him to mix up his attacks and his defenses, and Costa couldn’t adapt.

At the end of the day, Adesanya was just too quick and smart for Costa, and Costa basically did nothing for the whole fight. So ultimately, while being a fan of anime probably didn’t win him the fight, it sure didn’t hurt.