Israel Adesanya has revealed his love for WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury a of his middleweight title fight with Robert Whittaker at UFC 271 this weekend.
The Last Stylebender is due to fight against Whittaker for the second time, having come away victorious last time round in Australia back in 2019, but the pair will clash in Houston, Texas on Saturday evening.
The Nigerian-born fighter has been training intensely for his title fight, however, he took time away from his preparations to show some respect to boxer Fury and his incredible story.
Fury has always been open about his battle with depression and how he turned to drugs during his darkest times.
The Gypsy King returned to boxing after a two-and-a-half year hiatus in 2018 and two years later he became the WBC heavyweight champion.
‘I love his story. It’s phenomenal,’ Adesanya told BT Sport. ‘I can’t wait for the biopic to come out. He’s a phenomenal human being, not just a fighter. I really admire what he’s done.’
Fury showed his respect back towards Adesanya, who recently signed one of the most lucrative deals in UFC history, by saying: ‘Respect @stylebender with a handshake emoji.
Fury looks set to face Dillian Whyte with April 23 the targeted date and the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, or the London Stadium as potential venues as he looks to retain his title.
‘I want to get three [fights] this year,’ Adesanya said.
‘I’m not happy. Last year was my, to be honest, most lacklustre year in my UFC career, I feel.
‘It was just two fights. I went up to light heavyweight, failed that side of the mission, and I defended my belt at middleweight, and there’s a point in that [Vettori] fight I got bored. My [striking] coach ‘Twista’ was like, ‘Don’t get bored, Izzy. Stay in it.’
‘I remember he said that and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, true.’ He could notice. I don’t know what he saw, but he just noticed I switched off. I was just like, ‘Meh, this isn’t fun anymore.’
‘Because the guy wasn’t trying to win, he was trying to survive. I was like, ‘I’m the one with the belt, you’re being super defensive’, so yeah.’