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The meaning behind Israel Adesanya's new face tattoo

Jayden Collins

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| Last updated 

The meaning behind Israel Adesanya's new face tattoo

UFC star Israel Adesanya has been planning his comeback to MMA following his shocking defeat to Alex Pereira in November.

And it looks like he may be returning with a slightly different look and outlook on life.

The former middleweight champion showed off a new tattoo that he had inked just above his left eyebrow.


The MMA superstar documented the tattoo process on his social media, displaying the Arabic writing that has an inspirational message.

Although the face tattoo may not be as outlandish as the likes of Mike Tyson’s, it certainly has a tonne of meaning to the recently defeated fighter.

Coming back from what was only his second defeat in MMA, Adesanya decided it was time for a rebirth.

He captioned the video of the tattoo process: “The old version of you must die before you come alive!”

He included a dragon emoji at the end of the message as that’s exactly what the tattoo reads in Arabic: “Dragon”.

The video of the tattooing also includes the audio of a famous Malcolm X quote: “I don’t worry. I tell you, I’m a man who believes that I died 20 years ago and I live like a man who is dead already. I have no fear whatsoever of anybody or anything.”

So you can see exactly where Adesanya’s current mindset is.

At the end of the video, an image of the Naruto character Gaara flashes for a split-second, which seems to have inspired the location of the 33-year-old’s tattoo.

Credit: Brazil Photo Press / Alamy
Credit: Brazil Photo Press / Alamy

Of course, The Last Stylebender’s love of anime is well-documented.

In fact, Gaara could be somewhat of an inspiration behind the new tattoo as well.

One of Gaara’s best quotes in the show, via Comic Book Resources, is that his purpose is to love and fight for only himself.

Therefore a motto of ‘self-love’.

Something that perhaps Adesanya is investing heavily in following the shock defeat to his Brazilian rival.

It is definitely very much in line with the New Zealander's character to turn his comeback into an anime-Esque style return.

And it’s clear he has his sights set on reclaiming his title from his nemesis, Alex Pereira.

What a return that will be.

Featured Image Credit: Israel Adesanya/Twitter.

Topics: MMA, UFC, Israel Adesanya

Jayden Collins
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