Kiwi UFC star Israel Adesanya has dominated the UFC since his debut fight in February 2018.

In less than two years, Adesanya was crowned the undisputed UFC middleweight champion after trumping Australian star Robert Whittaker in Melbourne last October, and history awaits the 30-year-old if he continues his dominant run.

The all-time record for most consecutive middleweight UFC victories is held by Brazilian great Anderson Silva, who managed 13 between 2006 and 2013. "The Last Stylebender" is closing in, undefeated after eight bouts.

Adesayna's nickname derives from his enduring love of anime, specifically Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. In September 2019, Netflix revealed they were planning a live-action remake, and the 30-year-old is determined to make a cameo appearance.


Despite Netflix's announcement last year, the studio is yet to announce a start date for production.

"Early in lockdown I was watching Demon Slayer, but I paused that for a while. I definitely want to rewatch Avatar," Adesanya said.

"The live-action remake, I want to make a cameo in that. I'll find a way in there somehow. I know people."

Adesanya came up against Cuban fighter Yoel Romero during his most recent encounter at UFC 248 in March. The disappointed crowd reigned down a chorus of boos as both fighters pranced around the Octagon. Only 88 strikes were thrown during the five-round snoozefest.

However, Adesanya openly blamed his 43-year-old opponent for the forgettable main event.

"The whole thing was on him, not me, because I actually came to fight. I stuck to my gameplay," Adesanya told

"(Romero) was an idiot and he didn't want to fight. He just was hoping I'd make a mistake. You don't hope someone makes a mistake; you force them to make a mistake.

"Even from the first punch he landed when he compromised my eye, he just stood there. He didn't try and finish the fight; he just stood there."

Yoel Romero didn't put up much of a fight. Photo / Photosport
Yoel Romero didn't put up much of a fight. Photo / Photosport

Despite some scepticism, UFC made its triumphant return with UFC 249 last week. The enthralling main event fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje was watched by millions, including Adesayna.

When asked if he thought the UFC returned too quickly amid the ongoing global health crisis, Adesayna's response was blunt.

"F*** no. It came back at the right time," he exclaimed.

"We let them know what's up, first major sports league to get back in there. I don't think we came back too quickly.

"I watched all of (UFC 249). It was dope.

"The whole card was beautifully delivered. It exceeded expectations, especially the main event."


Understandably, spectators are currently not permitted at UFC events, and we probably won't see screaming crowds surrounding the Octagon for several months.

Although the change in atmosphere was surreal for viewers, Adesanya is not remotely fazed by the prospect of fighting in front of empty stands.

"I can adjust to it because I've had a few street fights in my time," he said.

"It's just going to be really intimate."

Brazilian star Paulo Costa is shaping up to be the New Zealander's next opponent. Both fighters are undefeated in the UFC, and neither has shied away from sharing their dislike for one another.

Costa was particularly unimpressed with Adesanya's performance in UFC 248.


"I was ashamed to watch that fight," Costa told reporters in March.

"Adesanya is nothing. Adesanya is the most shameful champion I have ever seen. He just runs. He's nothing. He's scared.

"It was s***, that fight was s***.

"I will make him cry. I will hit him very badly. And he will cry like a baby. I will slap his face."

Israel Adesanya. Photo / Photosport
Israel Adesanya. Photo / Photosport

On Wednesday, Costa's coach proclaimed the pair's eventual encounter will be "the greatest middleweight title fight in history," but also predicted the Brazilian would emerge as the victor.

Adesanya politely disagreed.


"This will probably be one of my faster knockouts," he said.

"(Costa's) overconfident. He's already playing into my hand in the sense that he really thinks he's going to walk through everything I throw.

"I don't like his face, so I'm going to punch it, a lot. And he's going to run into it with all that confidence, and he's going to fall down.

"He thinks he's invincible. I know I'm not."

English fighter Darren Till is also yet to face Adesanya in the octagon, and could find himself up against him in the near future, a mouth-watering prospect for any UFC fan.

After a recent spat involving reality show The Ultimate Fighter, Till called Adesanya a "scrawny, stupid little c***," but the 27-year-old's comments were made in jest. In response, Adesanya regularly takes potshots at Till's weight.


"(Adesanya) messaged me the other day like, 'Darren, KFC's back open mate, get your fat arse down there.' I was like, 'I'll be there mate, don't worry.' He's actually a good guy," Till said.

The respect is mutual.

"He's a good bloke as well. He's a down-to-earth guy, but I want to send him down to earth," Adesanya said.

"Oh, that's a bar. I'm keeping that."