Kiwi UFC star Israel Adesanya burst onto the worldwide scene in 2018, shedding the title of hyped prospect and breaking out as a title contender.

But as for just how much room there is left for him to blow up, Adesanya knows what he's capable of.

"I'll be bigger than Conor (McGregor)," he told Engage Media Group. "I'm coming for those numbers. I don't even have to chase them, they'll chase me."

There are some similarities in the rises of Adesanya and Ireland's McGregor, most notably the time it took them to earn their first headlining bout on a UFC card.


Both fighters fought in a main event in just their third fight with the promotion. McGregor has since gone on to become arguably the most recognisable name in combat sports, and Adesanya knows he's heading on the same trajectory.

The 29-year-old Kiwi's legend will continue early next month when he meets UFC middleweight legend Anderson Silva in the co-main event at UFC 234 in Melbourne.

"I'm player one in this. If you guys could see me from my point of view, from my first-person shooter, from where I've come from and looking at everything now, it's just like I planned every single thing and all the variables along the way I've adjusted to and adapted to easily.

"You guys thinks it's cool to watch from your point of view, but from my point of view, it's cool for me to watch my own rise and I can't wait 'til I take all those numbers."

Adesanya will be joined by City Kickboxing teammates Kai Kara France and Shane Young on the card in Melbourne - with Rod Laver Arena selling out within 10 minutes of tickets going on sale. Kiwi-born middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will look to defend his title in the main event against American battler Kelvin Gastelum.

While the headliner is a bout for the title, Adesanya's fight against Silva will determine who gets the next shot at claiming the belt.

While Adesanya has been compared to Silva throughout his career, he told the Herald that UFC 234 would see a changing of the guard.

"I was saying before, I'm going to Anderson Silva Anderson Silva, that's what I said early. Now, I'm going to Israel Adesanya Anderson Silva."


Adesanya wasn't the only Anzac UFC fighter to breakout in 2018. City Kickboxing teammate Dan Hooker burst into the top 15 of the lightweight division - widely considered as the deepest division in the promotion - while Australian featherweight Alexander Volkanovski announced himself as a title contender with a massive win over perennial contender Chad Mendes toward the end of the year.