New Zealand's new MMA star Israel Adesanya smashes Rob Wilkinson then calls out the competition

Sport 16/02/2018

Don't you dare compare him to arguably the three biggest names in UFC history, because Kiwi Israel Adesanya is writing his own script on his quest for MMA glory.

On Sunday, the 28-year-old announced his intentions to the world, dispatching Australian Rob Wilkinson by second-round TKO at UFC 221 in Perth, then subsequently putting the entire middleweight division on notice in his post-fight interview.

"Attention all middleweights, I'm the new dog in town and I just pissed all over this cage," Adesanya told UFC commentator Jon Anik.

During the broadcast, Anik described Adesanya as the most exciting acquisition the UFC has seen in the last two-years.

Some pundits have gone as far as comparing him to the greatest middleweight of all time - Brazilian Anderson Silva - while other similarities have been drawn between Adesanya and the likes of Jon Jones and Conor McGregor.

Adesanya wants to stand out on his own.

"F**k that," Adesanya told Newshub. "I'm not Jon Jones, I'm not Conor McGregor, I'm not Anderson Silva.

"I'm the first Israel Adesanya."

The former global kickboxing star made the full-time jump to MMA in 2015 and is currently undefeated at 12-0 with all wins coming via stoppage.

His UFC arrival was met with considerable hype.

The dominant win over Wilkinson underlines what a talent the Nigerian-born Aucklander is and judging by the media attention he was receiving at his City Kick Boxing gym, he will become a household name over the next 12-months.

But Adesanya said none of what has happened came by accident.

"People think this is an overnight thing because of UFC 221," Adesanya told Newshub.

"I have been patiently plotting this since the jump to MMA. I have always calculated my next move.

"You never calculate off emotion - you calculate off strategy. Now is the time to place the chess pieces in the right place.

"Off one fight, to be getting all these praises, it's not new to me. I have prepped for this. I am taking one day and one moment at a time."

Adesanya's coach, Eugene Bareman, has been a part of the plan for the last eight years.

Bareman noted that Adesanya's progression as an MMA fighter hasn't come by accident, but by the hard work of the team of people behind him.

"The real story behind the success of this gym is not the guys that you see at that top level, it's the guys that are just at that level behind them," Bareman told Newshub.

"There are a lot of unheralded guys here that are just as good as Israel, just as good Dan [Hooker] in certain areas - they just haven't had the same opportunities yet.

"It's these guys that makes those top guys so good by pushing then so hard."

Bareman and Adesanya both predict UFC gold in the near future - gold currently held by New Zealand-born Australian Robert Whittaker.

"Eventually, I see me vs Robert for the title at Spark Arena," Adesanya said. "I just see that happening.

"I'll beat him. I will find a way. I'd f**k him up.

"He's not a Kiwi, by the way. I'm the only black Kiwi in the UFC middleweight division.

"He's over there in Australia in a Kangaroo's pouch."