Adesanya signs new multi-fight deal with UFC

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HOUSTON — Israel Adesanya, one of the UFC’s top stars, has signed a new “lucrative” contract with the promotion, his Paradigm Sports Management team announced Wednesday.

At the UFC 271 media day Wednesday, Adesanya described the contract as a “f—ing big deal,” and he said he believes he’s now the second-highest-paid active fighter in the UFC. Conor McGregor is likely the highest-paid fighter on the roster.

Adesanya, the UFC middleweight champion, did not go into detail on how much he’ll be paid or how long the contract extends. The Paradigm release described it as a “multifight” deal. Adesanya said he only signed the contract and his bout agreement for his Saturday title defense against Robert Whitaker here this week.

“I’m glad we came to an agreement with this new deal,” Adesanya said. “I look forward to this effect trickling down to the rest of the fighters.”

Adesanya said he knows the UFC has been aware of his mainstream crossover potential and “it” factor for years, and he’s happy that it’ll all now be reflected in his fight purses. “The Last Style Bender” cited his roots in Nigeria and New Zealand as demographics he hits that others in the UFC don’t.

“The thing I want to know is what’s my value to the company,” Adesanya said. “You can’t undersell my value, if you are, you’re kidding yourself. I bring so many different looks to this company.”

Adesanya (21-1) beat Robert Whittaker to win the UFC middleweight title at UFC 243 in October 2019. He is looking for his fourth title defense Saturday at the Toyota Center. Adesanya, 32, has only one career loss, moving up a division against Jan Blachowicz in a UFC light heavyweight title fight at UFC 259 last March. Adesanya is a former kickboxing standout and owns wins in the UFC over the likes of Whittaker, Yoel Romero and Anderson Silva.

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