After winning the UFC middleweight title last month, Israel Adesanya shared his intentions to take his belt back to Nigeria.

"They've taken a lot of gold away from Africa, it's time we take gold back to Africa," he said after claiming the belt in a five-round classic against American Kelvin Gastelum.

And Adesanya has stayed true to his word.

Born in Nigeria but moving to New Zealand in his early teenage years, Adesanya has always remained in touch with his roots. The 29-year-old spent the past week in Lagos, Nigeria, revisiting those roots as well as promoting mixed martial arts.


Among the sites he visited, Adesanya returned to his old school primary school and said he was filled with a different sense of wonder, pride and joy.

"So much emotion as I returned back to my old primary school. Everything felt so small to me as I strolled my former stomping grounds (because) I'm a big boy now, but I was filled with a different sense of wonder, pride and joy," he posted on Instagram.

"I saw myself as each of those kids and I couldn't help but return to my child mind (not hard for me to do) and remember how I looked at the world at their ages. So many memories that I hadn't even thought of in over 20 years came flooding back like flashbacks.

"It was a surreal, crazy and wonderful experience. I'll remember this feeling forever."

Adesanya has surged to worldwide recognition in the past 18 months as he's quickly climbed through the UFC's middleweight rankings. In winning the interim title against Gastelum in Atlanta last month, Adesanya booked an all-Kiwi unification bout against Auckland-born Robert Whittaker.

Whittaker has held the middleweight title since July 2017, but was unable to defend it against Gastelum in their booked bout in Melbourne earlier this year to do illness.

With Whittaker sidelined for much of the year and both Gastelum and Adesanya in line for title shots, UFC booked and interim title bout between the two, with the winner claiming UFC gold and going on to meet Whittaker later this year.

Speaking to the Herald earlier this month, Whittaker said he was hoping the two would meet in either September or October in Australia. The UFC has announced a number of events during that timeframe that have yet to have locations announced for. However, it's expected they fight would headline a pay-per-view card. If that's the case, the bout could be held in any of October, November or December.