Israel Adesanya: A Lesson in Never Giving Up
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Sports - April 12, 2023

Israel Adesanya: A Lesson in Never Giving Up

Nigerian and New Zealand Professional Mixed Martial Artist, Israel Adesanya (Izzy) currently holds the UFC Middleweight Championship. He is regarded as one of the most skilled and exciting fighters in the sport today. 

Israel recently knocked out Alex Pereira to regain his middleweight title in the main event of UFC 287, after being defeated twice in kickboxing by Pereira. The fight which comes as the fourth between the pair showcases Israel’s perseverance, mental toughness and ability to stay calm and focused under pressure.

Israel’s Persistence: a path to Reclamation

Adesanya’s journey to the top of the UFC was not without its challenges. Early in his career, Adesanya faced several setbacks, including a loss in his first MMA fight, a semifinal bout against Simon Marcus and a Glory Middleweight championship loss to Alex Pereira.

His recent loss happened in November 2022, when Alex Pereira replicated his kickboxing success against Israel Adesanya to dethrone the middleweight champion in the main event of UFC 281. Undeterred by his loss, Adesanya a few days ago, knocked out Pereira to regain his title.

From the trajectory of Adesanya’s life career, business experts and entrepreneurs can learn that success often requires persistence in the face of adversity. They must understand that setbacks and failures are inevitable, but how we respond to them determines our ultimate success. 

Support from family

Adesanya enjoys huge support from his family, especially his father. In one of his interviews, Adesanya said, “My father is an accountant, he’s a smart man. I could pay someone else to do the job that he does, but he does it for free and out of love and because he wants to see me be successful. No one on this planet is going to have my back as my father does.” 

He added that his father is the super eagle “that’s circling and quietly watching, seeing where the vultures are. The vultures think they’re the ones circling me, but what they don’t know is, they’ve got an eagle circling all of them. I believe in him and the team I have around me.”

Building a strong support system of family, friends, mentors, and colleagues is essential for overcoming challenges and achieving success. Entrepreneurs need people who believe in them, who can offer guidance and advice, and who can provide a sounding board for their ideas and plans.

Focus on goals, not the outcomes

Adesanya focuses on the process of the fight by controlling his preparation, mindset, and approach to training and competition.  By focusing on the process, he is able to stay present and engaged, without getting too caught up in the outcome. He once stated, “I forget I’m the champ all the time, I don’t even have the belt with me. My belt’s somewhere at the gym or somewhere at my coach’s house. I’ve never really attached myself to that… it’s nice, but I’ve gotten many belts in my life.”

Entrepreneurs must learn to focus on the journey, not just their destination. While it’s easy to get caught up in the billion-dollar goal, you must remember that it’s the daily habits, routines, and processes that ultimately lead to success. Focusing on the process keeps you motivated, engaged, and committed to your goals, so stay focused.

Learns from others

Adesanya learns from every fight. Speaking of his early career days, Izzy hinted that he lost his first and last amateur MMA fight with Neroni Savaiinaea in 2009. He said, “I’m glad that the first fight happened the way it did. If I’d won that fight, I would have been like, I’m the man, I’m the greatest, no one can touch me.” He added that the fight showed him that he had a lot to learn in MMA. According to him, failure doesn’t deter him but it provides learning opportunities for the Champ.

Addressing newsmen, Adesanya admitted he has learnt a lot from watching McGregor’s meteoric rise through the UFC. He said, “I’ve learned a lot directly and indirectly, even before we knew each other. Just the way he handled not just the fame, but the money side of it. Even his pitfalls, I’ve learned from them and I know he has too, but I’ve learned from them, watching that.”

This is a subtle reminder that entrepreneurs can benefit from the wisdom and experience of others. You can seek out mentorship and coaching that will help you develop new skills, gain new perspectives, and avoid costly mistakes.

His powerful speech at the arena

After stunning Pereira with two huge punches in the second round to seal his victory at UFC 287, the Kiwi fighter gave a powerful speech that has since inspired many individuals across the globe. He said, “People, Earth, I need to say something, listen to me. I hope every one of you — behind the screen and in this arena — can feel this level of happiness, at just one time in your life. But guess what, you will never feel this level of happiness if you don’t go for something in your own life.”

Adesanya seized the moment to remind everyone watching, that the joy success brings can only be experienced if they dared to pursue their dreams. He noted that they will be knocked down, marginalised, and oppressed but they must never stay down. According to him, “If you stay down, you will never ever get that resolve. Fortify your mind!

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