Israel Adesanya admits he’s on “the back end” of his career, focused on “quality” fights not quantity in 2024

By Cole Shelton - January 9, 2024

Israel Adesanya knows he’s on the back nine of his fighting career.

Israel Adesanya

Adesanya is currently 34 years old and has been a pro-MMA fighter since 2012, but has competed in kickboxing for much longer. With over a decade as a pro fighter, Adesanya has put his body through a ton, and after his lopsided decision loss to Sean Strickland to lose his middleweight title, he said he would be taking a breaak from fighting.

Israel Adesanya originally said he would return in 2027, which he later clarified was a joke. But, ‘The Last Stylebender’ has fought five times since the beginning of 2022, which is more than most fighters, especially champions. With that, Israel Adesanya says at this point in his career, he’s now focused on getting quality bouts and not the amount of fights he gets.

“That’s why I’m taking this time off. People were talking like I’m retiring or taking five years off. I’m like, ‘chill, don’t worry.’ My time off is different to most people’s time off. People take two years off. I’m not doing that,” Israel Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “Like I said, four fights in 14 months. I know I’m on the back end of my career. I know when I’m done with this, I’m going to miss it. So I was trying to do as much as I can. Then I realized it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. I’m still going to enjoy this. When I fight, I know I’ll fight (this year). I don’t know when I’m going to fight, but when I fight, it’s going to be quality. It’s not going to be quantity.”

With Israel Adesanya focused on getting quality fights, it’s uncertain who that could possibly be next for the former champ. He could get the winner of Sean Strickland vs Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 297 for the middleweight title. Or, perhaps he goes back to 205lbs to have his trilogy with Alex Pereira in what would serve as his second quest to become a two-division champ. Regardless, the good news for many MMA fans is that Adesanya is set to return to the octagon this year.

Israel Adesanya is 24-3 as a pro and coming off a decision loss to Sean Strickland at UFC 293 to lose his title. Before that, he reclaimed the title with a KO win over Alex Pereira after losing by fifth-round TKO to Pereira. In his career, Adesanya holds notable wins over Robert Whittaker, twice, Anderson Silva, Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero, and Jared Cannonier among others.


Israel Adesanya UFC