In a recent interview with ESPN, UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya explained how dancing helped him to become a UFC Champion.
The New-Zealander is getting ready to defend his UFC Middleweight title against Yoel Romero at UFC 248 this weekend. This will be Adesanya’s 1st-title defense since winning the UFC Middleweight title after he knocked out the former champion, Robert Whittaker back in 2019. Romero will enter the contest on a 2-fight losing streak, but Adesanya believes a win over the Cuban is essential in solidifying his legacy.
The path onto the UFC road of success for “The Last Stylebender” has not been an easy one by any means.
In a segment created by ESPN and published yesterday, Adesanya said that he was an outcast among his peers after relocating to New Zealand from his native Nigeria at the age of 12.
The champion explained that dancing was initially a way to get on with his fellow classmates, but it later evolved into a form of creative expression that he was able to incorporate into his fighting skill set.
“Dancers I feel, they have the best muscle memory on the planet, ’cause they have to drill drill drill.”
Since he joined the UFC, Adesanya had visualised doing a dance walk-out to his fights, but UFC president Dana White shut the idea down:
“The motivation behind it was just expressions, self-expression,” said Adesanya. “If you are authentically you and express yourself truly, no one can f*ck with you. But the UFC turned it down.”
White said that the UFC operates with a strict no-dancing walkout policy:
“A choreographed intro walk-ins, we do not do here,” said Dana White. “And we will not do as long as I’m here. There’s not many scenarios where fight fans want to see men dancing, ever.”
This comes as no surprise after Dana White commented on the walk-out theatrics in the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 2, stating that we wouldn’t see any of that in the UFC. However, the UFC president was a bit more lenient towards Adesanya, when he walked out to a choreographed routine, accompanied by skilled backup dancers for his title fight against Robert Whittaker:
“This fight, I was the real main event,” said Adesanya. “It was my show, so I was like, I’m going to do this my way or no way…I knew he [White] would have liked it because it was sick as f*ck.”
“I went out there, I hit my sh*t and it was legendary.”
This article first appeared on CLOSEDGUARDMEDIA.com on 6th March, 2020.