UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya made history when he became the first combat sports athlete to be named “New Zealand Sportsman of the Year” at the 57th annual Halberg Awards.

Adesanya took home the prestigious award after a remarkable 2019 in which his meteoric rise to the top of the UFC culminated with an undisputed title victory over Robert Whittaker last October. It’s been a whirlwind ever since Adesanya (18-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) joined the UFC in February 2018.

After being named “Sportsman of the Year,” Adesanya gave a moving and epic speech, which you can watch in the video above.

Adesanya’s next fight will come March 7 at UFC 248 in Las Vegas, where he’ll defend his title against Yoel Romero.

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