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Without Any Challengers, Israel Adesanya Is Making the Most of the Extra Time on His Hands

Israel Adesanya has again reached even more rarified air in his career.

The reigning UFC middleweight champion is in the midst of an unfrequented stretch when he is likely to have more than seven months off in between fights. Since his last victory, a convincing unanimous decision against Marvin Vettori in June at UFC 263, Adesanya (21–1) now finds himself without any challengers for the belt.

“Hopefully I’ll have a new challenger soon,” says Adesanya, who has dominated the middleweight division. His next fight will be a rematch against Robert Whittaker, who he already defeated by knockout two years ago. “I’m excited about the Whittaker fight, and it’s looking like we’ll see that in January. I’ll take care of him, then I want someone new.

“The time off gives me a chance to learn and work on my skills as a martial artist. I’m learning new skills, and I can’t wait to showcase them. I want to lap the whole division again.”

Adesanya is training every day, but with at least four more months until his next fight, he has found time to apply himself toward his passions outside of MMA. That includes working on his YouTube channel, as well as his dancing.

Israel Adesanya downtime

“My dancing, that’s just for me,” he says. “It’s very intimate. I’m not doing it for likes or for clout, it’s my chance to express myself in the most intimate way possible. It’s me collecting more source for my force.”

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And when he’s not dancing, Adesanya has been working on his new energy drink. He created the beverage with Kill Cliff, developing a unique Tekilla Kiwi flavor. Residing in Auckland, New Zealand, he had a clear idea of what his flavor should encompass.

“I want to bring my culture to the world,” says Adesanya. “We tasted this is out for hours, making sure it came out just the way I like it. It’s a little zesty, and it’s very refreshing. If you’re feeling hot after a hard workout, having one of these will make you melt. It’s the kind of drink that goes down so easy on a hot day.”

The product launch for the new drink includes a celebrity-filled tournament vying for the right to play Adesanya at Street Fighter, which will take place on Oct. 1 and air on the Kill Cliff TV app.

“I’ll be real, people have a much, much better chance at beating me in Street Fighter than they would in the cage,” says Adesanya. “I suck at Street Fighter. I may be Ryu or Ken, but I need to get my reps.”

Adesanya also has his own page on OnlyFans, bringing even more content about his fighting, enhancing it all with his ebullient personality. He joked that he won’t know what to do now that OnlyFans has banned sexually explicit content, but also credited his brother David for building a page featuring such substance. “I’ve got some ideas of my own, too, to share with the world,” he says. “I know my value in the market of consumable products, so this is all just phase one.“

The time away from a UFC main event also allows Adesanya to connect more deeply with his rapidly growing fan base, for which he remains eternally grateful.

“I am always grateful for the real ones,” said Adesanya. “They know what they mean to me and how they motivate me. They’re the ones I never forget.”

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