UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is already one of the most popular fighters in the sport, and he believes it's just a matter of time before he's a global superstar like Conor McGregor.
"It's inevitable," Adesanya said Thursday at the UFC 259 pre-fight press conference. "But I just have to get used to it. I just have to accept it and not hide from the role that I'm in, not hide from the platform that I'm on."
Adesanya, who made his UFC debut in early 2018, had a rapid rise in the promotion. He won the undisputed title less than two years after his debut and has already defended it twice. Now he'll try to become the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two belts simultaneously when he meets light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in Saturday's main event.
UFC president Dana White agreed with Adesanya, saying it's a guarantee the 185-pound champ will cross over into the mainstream as long as he continues to find success in the Octagon.
"If he keeps doing what he's doing and continues to win, continues to break records and do these things, yeah, like he said, it's inevitable," White said at the press conference.
Adesanya, 31, would become the first fighter in UFC history to win titles at middleweight and light heavyweight with a victory over Blachowicz.