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Israel Adesanya chasing history at UFC 259 and beyond: ‘Look what I’ve done so far and I got a long way to go’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Israel Adesanya has already accomplished a lot in his UFC career after just three years with the promotion but he’s far from finished when it comes to making history.

“The Last Stylebender,” who boasts a perfect 20-0 record in his mixed martial arts career, has a chance to add another accolade to his resume this weekend as he attempts to become the first person to ever hold both the middleweight and light heavyweight titles simultaneously.

He would also join a club that currently only includes five other fighters to ever win and hold two division titles in the UFC.

Of course to do that, Adesanya has to go through reigning light heavyweight king Jan Blachowicz but he doesn’t believe he’s bitten off more than he can chew in his pursuit of greatness.

“Never. I’ve got a big mouth so I can eat a lot,” Adesanya joked at the UFC 259 pre-fight press conference. “For me, this is what I’ve always predicted to do in this game is change the game. Change history.

“I came in here just over three years ago and look what I’ve done so far and I got a long way to go.”

In a relatively short amount of time, Adesanya has quickly become one of the most recognizable fighters on the entire UFC roster.

Devastating knockouts over established opponents such as Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa have kept Adesanya at the top of the middleweight division and outside the cage, he’s inked numerous lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals including a partnership with Puma as well as the Call of Duty video game series.

Considering the interest shown whenever he competes, Adesanya is already one of the biggest draws in the UFC and he believes it’s only a matter of time before he’s sharing space with global superstars like Conor McGregor.

“It’s inevitable,” Adesanya said when drawing comparisons to McGregor’s star power. “But I just have to get used to it. I just have to accept it and not hide from the role that I’m in. Not hide from the platform that I’m on.

“Because a lot of people get to this spot and then they start to like ‘I’ve been here.’ What did Kanye West say? Y’all can have it back. Sometimes. But I just accept that it is what it is. I am who I am so I just run with it.”

If he’s successful on Saturday night in the UFC 259 main event, Adesanya will become a two-division champion but rarely has the promotion allowed any fighter to hold onto both belts because inevitably one weight class suffers with a title being held up.

Adesanya has promised that won’t be the case with him because he plans on being a defending champion in every sense of the word.

In fact, Adesanya might even attempt to add a third title at some point with a potential move to heavyweight still possible but he can’t look into the future just yet when Blachowicz is still standing in front of him right now.

Middleweight’s my division so I rule that with an iron black fist,” Adesanya said. “So yeah, I’m going to go back down and handle business there depending on the lay of the land. But also I peak ahead, I don’t look too far ahead because I’ve got this Viking in front of me.

“Yeah, I’m looking straight at him but I peak ahead and just see what the lay of the land is, how I can change history again.”