New Zealander-Nigerian mixed martial artist Israel Adesanya received a hero’s welcome in New Zealand following his triumphant return to the top of the UFC Middleweight division.
Adesanya reclaimed his title by knocking out long-time rival Alex Pereira at UFC 287 on April 9, 2023, avenging his previous loss to the Brazilian fighter.
Upon his return to New Zealand, Adesanya, also known as the Last Stylebender, was greeted with a thrilling Haka Dance performance. Videos circulating on the internet show thousands of New Zealanders coming together to celebrate the mixed martial artist’s victory with this traditional Maori ceremonial dance.
Adesanya’s triumphant return comes after he made headlines for his candid comments about Nigeria, his parents’ home country. While appearing as a guest on the Hot Boxin podcast, Adesanya expressed his love for Nigerians but criticized the nation’s leaders for their corruption and eagerness to misappropriate public funds.
Despite his criticisms, Israel Adesanya remains a celebrated figure in both New Zealand and Nigeria for his exceptional achievements in the world of mixed martial arts.