Israel Adesanya already gets a ton of attention from MMA fans for his top-notch performances in his UFC matches, but he's caught the eye of anime fans as well for his open love of the medium, even dubbing himself "The Last Stylebender" as a reference to popular Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
One of the latest things that caught anime fans' attention is Adesanya's use of Naruto's Summoning Jutsu before one of his matches. You can check it out in a video below he shared to Twitter below.
Mixed Martial Arts...Martial Arts...Arts 🖌— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) January 4, 2019
I am a creative. Those who do not have an #imagination (😏🌈) cannot perceive my reality. Shoutout to @kutkraft & @blackprintnz on keeping their imagination alive in a world that tries to kill creatives. Make it burn dem #manga #anime pic.twitter.com/yTOK2KPh51
Accompanied with animation from artist @kutkraft, the video sees Adesanya prepare for a Summoning Jutsu by unrolling a scroll, biting his thumb, and forming the necessary hand signs in order to summon a powerful being. In his mind he's summoning his original creation, the dragon Kundakinte, and while that's not a creature from the Naruto universe, it's hard not to imagine it fitting right in with the mystical beasts of that series.
Adesanya is another prominent example of how popular anime is now, and how public the fans of it are willing to be. This is a far cry from a few years ago, when anime was seen as something only certain people were a fan of.
Athletes have shown their love for series like Naruto in very public ways like this such as boxing superstar Ryan Garcia tweeting that he watched the anime before his matches, or when Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster used a Rasengan for a touchdown celebration. Much like those two athletes, Adesanya showing no fear for his fandom will certainly earn him more fans as he continues his rise in the MMA world.
Originally created by Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto ran in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump for 700 chapters. The story follows a young ninja, with a sealed demon within him, that wishes to become the leader of his home village. The sequel, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations is set several years after the events of the original Naruto story and features the children of many of its key characters such as Naruto and Hinata.