UFC: Adesanya Dedicates His Victory over Costa as Gift to Nigeria at 60

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Femi Solaja

Ultimate Fighting Championship ((UFC) Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, has dedicated his victory over Paulo Costa of Brazil in the early hours of yesterday morning as the best gift to Nigeria ahead of the country’s 60th independence anniversary.

New Zealander Adesanya who hails from Odogbolu in Ogun State, in a telephone chat with THISDAY shortly after dispatching the Brazilian in the ‘Fight Island’ of Abu Dhabi, United Arabs Emirates, said he actually worked very hard to earn the win against his opponent who had also enjoyed a winning streak before the epic clash.

“It was a dream come true for me. I’ve really worked hard to maintain my winning streak at 20-0 now and what other gift can I offer millions of Nigerian youths out there who want to excel with their talents?

“My win today I think will motivate them and will want to aim higher with hard work to reach their respective goals,” Adesanya gushed with excitement.

“I am very happy to overcome my opponent considering the fact that we should have fought about two years ago but he kept avoiding me until now as the champion. He had no choice but face me and I have proven to be the better guy out there. I will want other youths to follow this trend,” Adesanya tasked Nigerian youths.

He was also happy that with this win, he wants to visit his country of birth in the post Covid-19 time.

“Yes, it is my dream to visit the country (Nigeria) as soon as possible. I want to visit some of the government officials to see how we can partner to help our teeming youths. I also want to hold clinics with young boys and girls who want to go into the mixed martial art sports as well,” he pledged.

As the self-proclaimed leader of Africa’s fighting revolution, Adesanya backed-up his bold claims with a massive win against Costa for his UFC middleweight belt at UFC 253 which was broadcast live on DSTv in the early hours of Sunday.

AsideAdesanya, other Nigerian fighters to have proven their worth in the sport include Kamaru Usman, Francis Ngannou and Sodiq Yussuf.

Another Nigerian Hakeem Dawodu won his undercard bout against Zubaira Tukhugov in the featherweight division. The bout went through the distance but the Nigerian was adjudged the winner in a split decision by the judges.