UFC champ Israel Adesanya gives a unique and contrasting take on a WWE move

After a shout out from within the WWE, UFC champion Israel Adesanya discussed the possibility of lacing up some wrestling boots that’s different from his MMA peers.

By: Jack Wannan | 4 months ago
UFC champ Israel Adesanya gives a unique and contrasting take on a WWE move
Don't expect Israel Adesanya to be going off the top rope anytime soon. | IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya is definitely a fan of wrestling. He says he someday wants to take his family to a Wrestlemania event, and once dedicated a fight walkout to wrestling legend The Undertaker, using his theme and carrying an urn to the octagon.

But Adesanya seems to be fine with simply being a fan of wrestling. When recently asked if he would ever do wrestling, he seemed only a little interested.

WWE talent Heyman shouts out Adesanya

Adesanya joined Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour on Monday, as he was in town New York City for the Tribeca Film Festival, where the premiere of his documentary, “Stylebender,” aired recently.

During their conversation, Helwani made note that on-screen WWE personality Paul Heyman directed a message toward Adesanya. Heyman’s character is currently the manager for WWE wrestler Roman Reigns, who he refers to as the “Tribal Chief.”

“While this great champion is in your studio tomorrow, please be sure to have him ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRIBAL CHIEF!” Heyman said via Instagram, after Helwani announced that Adesanya would be a guest.

Sorry, wrestling fans

Adesanya recognized Heyman from when he was previously the on-screen manager for former UFC star Brock Lesnar. While he didn’t really understand why Heyman called out Adesanya, the moment lead to a conversation about if the “Stylebender” would ever step into the ring – the wrestling ring, that is.

Sorry to wrestling fans that want to see Adesanya flying off the top rope: a small appearance might be the best you get. While most MMA fighters seem to express great interest in a move to the WWE, Adesanya had the opposite take.

“The only thing is, I like to be the author of my own story,” Adesanya told The MMA Hour. “I’ll do a couple of cameos. I’ll come from under the ring or whatever … But to be a guy that is in there and then have someone write my story, and I’m this, and I’m that. I feel like it’s just not my forte. But I’ll do a few cameos.”

MMA and pro wrestling are like next-door neighbors

MMA and wrestling will be tied together forever, likely. Crossovers from one to the other have happened for decades and will only continue as time goes on.

The most notable active example has to be Ronda Rousey, who currently competes in a tag team duo with UFC, EliteXC, and Strikeforce vet Shayna Baszler. The duo are WWE’s current women’s tag team champions.

But the list doesn’t end there. Who could forget that Bobby Lashley had an MMA career, including four fights in Bellator from 2014 to 2016? Jake Hager, formerly known as Jack Swagger, wrestles on AEW’s roster and has a total of three victories from Bellator to his name as well. And “The Beast Incarnate,” the aforementioned Lesnar, continues to remain active in the wrestling world.

It’s fair that Adesanya would prefer to compete in a sport where he’s in charge of his character and has control over the outcome of his fights. Wrestling isn’t for everyone and, despite how incredibly frequently it crosses over with MMA, it’s hard to compare the two jobs.

But even if Adesanya won’t ever deliver a superkick or powerbomb, the tag team bond between MMA and pro wrestling will remain strong for much longer to come.

As for when Adesanya will step into the octagon next, we’re still waiting to hear about that. His last fight, a second-round stoppage against Alex Pereira, was still just two months ago at UFC 287.

But judging from his past, we will likely see Adesanya one more time later this year. The always-active middleweight has competed at least twice a year since he joined the UFC roster in 2018. In fact, his rookie year in the promotion saw him compete an overwhelming four times in total.

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About the author
Jack Wannan
Jack Wannan

Jack Wannan is a reporter for Bloody Elbow. He joined the site in 2023 after previously writing for MMA-Prospects.com and Knockdown News. He is currently in the process of earning a bachelor's degree in journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University.

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