As the largest crowd in Ultimate Fighting Championship history slowly filed out of Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, four months ago, Israel Adesanya fronted the media as the company’s 11th undisputed middleweight titleholder.
With no shortage of swagger, “The Last Stylebender” waltzed out to take his assigned seat, the belt a conspicuous accessory across his shoulder. His face, unmarked by the eight and a half minutes he had spent trading leather with Robert Whittaker, was drawn into a bemused expression. He paused and then discarded a Monster Energy can that had been placed on the media table in anticipation of his arrival before lowering himself into his seat and directing his attention to the assembled reporters.
The entrance was understated, particularly given the one he had delivered barely two hours beforehand to kickstart the UFC 243 main event. Immediately before he marched into the Octagon to face his stiffest test yet in front of a record-setting crowd, Adesanya executed a choreographed dance routine with members of his former dance troupe, inspired by the Japanese manga series “Naruto.” He then proceeded to the cage, knocked out Whittaker inside two rounds and vaulted himself into combat sports immortality.
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