Israel Adesanya is a 21-1 UFC fighter with 6.3m+ social media followers and 300,000+ YouTube subscribers. Izzy has a unique way of embedding his personality into his fighter career, which has amplified his brand beyond the hardcore MMA community. His passion for anime, Nigerian & New Zealand heritage and cultural lifestyle are key learning curves that brands and athletes can learn to grow their audiences. This blog will discover what Adesanya is doing to grow his personal brand and its impact on his marketability.
YouTube channel- FREESTYLEBENDER
Izzy has created his own YouTube channel, FREESTYLEBENDER, where he uploads pre-fight vlogs, reactions to UFC events, fan Q&A’s and more. This year, Israel has fought twice under the UFC, meaning that his fanbase has only had two occasions to look forward to him being in action.
On YouTube, he tends to upload videos at least once a week. This gives his fans content to enjoy while inactive from competing in the Octagon. Plus, his fans have the chance to explore the other side of Izzy when he’s not fighting.
As an athlete, your fans aren’t only interested in you when competing; they have an appetite to explore your journey, which includes content away from your sport. Simple content like this allows Izzy to build authentic connections with his fans.
Deal with Puma
In 2020, the last Stylebender became the first MMA fighter to pick up a sponsorship deal with a major sportswear brand, Puma. Puma have an illustrious roster of athletes, including Sergio Aguero, Lexi Thompson and Kyle Kuzma. The partnership see’s Adesanya promote exclusive merchandise with Puma, get involved in collaborative campaigns alongside other activations.
Puma is strong on innovation, pushing boundaries and staying authentic. These three values also resonate strongly with Adesanya, which motivated him to work with Puma. This deal has enhanced Izzy’s profiles with the casual sports community, boosting his net worth and commercial appeal through value-driven marketing.
It could also open more opportunities for MMA fighters to collaborate with major brands depending on their interpersonal values, considering the chance Puma have given Adesanya.
Generally, UFC fighters come across as more ‘unfiltered’ than athletes in other sports. Israel Adesanya is a prime example. Energy drink brand, Monster, is where Izzy has demonstrated this. There are various clips where Izzy has removed the product off his table during press conferences due to the controversy behind the brand allegedly trying to get fighters to behave differently during fight promotions.
When Adesanya fought Kevin Gastelum, footage emerged before a round start of Izzy saying to himself, “I’m prepared to die”. The clips acquired tens of thousand’s of views online, which showcases the passion Israel has for combat sports.
Ahead of UFC248, Adesanya posted a video of him listening to Tupac, which made him cry due to the raw emotion heading into facing Cuban fighter Yoel Romero. These may seem like small gestures from Israel. However, it humanises Adesanya’s personality, making his fans more enticed to him and his journey.
Israel is one of the most innovative fighters across combat sports and a growing name across the mainstream sports space. His initiative to create content away from fight camp, collaboration with Puma and unfiltered authenticity are integral to growing his personal brand.
What stands out the most to you about Israel Adesanya’s marketability?