Israel Adesanya is ‘the Muhammad Ali of the MMA world’ says WWE legend Booker T

  • Tom Ward
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UFC star Israel Adesanya is ‘the Muhammad Ali of the MMA world’ according to WWE legend and Hall of Famer Booker T.

The Last Stylebender, 32, successfully defended his middleweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Aussie rival Robert Whittaker in their highly-anticipated rematch in the main event of UFC 271 last weekend.

In a press conference after his win in the octagon, the UFC middleweight champion spotted Booker T lurking in the background, which was captured by the UFC’s official YouTube channel.

Understandably Nigerian-born Adesanya was completely taken aback before he quickly gathered his composure and revealed he was a big fan of the American pro wrestler growing up in New Zealand.

And now King Booker – real name Booker T Huffman Jr – has responded in kind with a compliment of his own as he insisted he is a natural born entertainer.

Huffman Jr told MMA Fighting: “For Izzy to actually pay respect to Booker T, it just lets me know how I made him feel as a young kid growing up, hopefully one day to inspire just like I did.

“You could tell he was a fan though, you could tell he loves, I wouldn’t just say what I did for him, but the game of professional wrestling, entertainment.”

Feb 12, 2022; Houston, Texas, UNITED STATES; Israel Adesanya (red gloves) fights Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 271 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

He then likened him to ‘The Greatest’ Ali, a man widely regarded as the greatest boxer to grace the sport in the 21 years he spent in the ring.

Huffman added: “He’s a performer, he’s the Muhammad Ali of the MMA world and I tell you, he’s a generational talent, and they only come along few and far between.

“You know, Adesanya, he’s probably my favourite fighter right now, just because he is the most dynamic, he’s the guy that you just want to lay eyes on no matter where he’s at or who he’s fighting.”

Booker T revealed he is also a huge admirer of Jon Jones, but isn’t sure if he’ll ever be the same again after such a long layoff.

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He continued: “Of course, Jon Jones is a guy that’s very captivating and you don’t want to miss anything that he’s doing.

“But he’s been out of the picture so long we don’t know what Jon Jones we’re going to see when he comes back – if he does come back – so Izzy would be the guy.”

Asked whether a move up to heavyweight is the right move, he replied: “Well, any way you can make some money is a good idea, as well as Jon Jones, he’s always been the best, he’s always been the best.

“Until someone can prove us wrong, no matter when he comes back or if he comes back, he’s going to be the favourite no matter who he fights.

“That’s what I believe, I could be wrong, but that’s what I believe.”

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