In a story that reads like it was plucked from one of his beloved comic books, undefeated UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya looks destined to transcend the sport.
Earlier this month, he joined global football star Neymar in signing a deal with sportswear company Puma. He graces the cover of the UFC’s latest video game, and his image peers down from international billboards in regions the UFC’s substantial media arm struggles to touch.
This weekend – at UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi – the man known as ‘The Last Stylebender’ steps into the octagon with Paulo Costa, who many believe is the 31-year-old’s toughest challenge to date.
Should he beat the Brazilian, as he has his previous 19 opponents, he will continue his transition from the mixed martial arts bubble to the broader cultural consciousness. (BBC)