Nigerian mixed-martial artist Israel Adesanya is one of the biggest stars in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the sport's biggest tournament.
Adesanya has attained great heights following his rise and dominance in the lightweight division of the UFC.
He was recently on the cover of tattoo lifestyle platform Inked Magazine; he spoke about his tattoos in the cover story.
These are five things he said.
1. First one a secret
Adesanya's first tattoo means so much to him; that is why he has decided to keep it a secret. The 31-year-old refused to answer the question about his first tattoo.
He said the first tattoo he got at the age of 21 is personal for him; that's why he has decided to keep it a secret.
2. He does all his tattoos in one place
Adesanya always returns to one place whenever he feels the urge for body art.
The athlete does his tattoos at the popular Rod Dawson at Stained Skin Tattoo in Auckland.
"I remember the feeling of getting each one, the feeling of what I was going through in life at the time when I got my tattoos," he told Inked Magazine.
"It's like my own diary in a way, my own storybook. It's just my story to tell, I guess."
3. No regrets
Adesanya revealed that he does not have any regret with any of his tattoo. It has even been the reverse for the fighter because most of the tattoos have had deeper meanings with time.
"I'll give you an example of that. I'm born on the 22nd of July, on the cusp of Cancer and Leo. I've got the Naruto reaper death seal on my navel. Inside that I have two of the characters from 'Avatar: The Last Airbender,' the Ocean and Moon spirits—two koi fish that swim around each other in a circle, kind of like the yin and yang. I had an epiphany three weeks ago where I realized, 'Holy shit—I had my star signs tattooed on me without even realizing I did it," he said.
4. The tattoos and meaning
Izzy has a dragon/crocodile tattoo that he got just before his fight with Derek Brunson at Madison Square Garden in November 2018. He calls that tattoo 'Kunta Kinte,' based on the image from Alex Haley's 'Roots: The Saga of an American Family.'
He also has a tattoo of Toph around the navel. Toph is his favourite character from 'Avatar: The Last Airbender,' which inspired his 'Last Stylebender' nickname.
Izzy is a huge fan of anime, and on his rib cage, there also is a tattoo of Deadpool.
"That's just a cool image. If you even look at my character when I fight, if you were to pick someone in the UFC who was a badass, kicks ass and expresses himself unapologetically, Deadpool does that," he told Inked Magazine.
There is a tattoo of the words' Broken Native,' on his chest, a tribute to his crew back in the days.
"Broken Native, that was the name of a crew of mine from back in the day," Adesanya said.
"I coined the name, and I realized that it embodied my life. Everything I've done, you know? I've never done things like everyone else that came from where I come from, or even in class in school—I never adhered to whatever everyone else was doing if it didn't feel right to me. I was always the odd one out. The broken native was just a way of stamping my chest, saying 'this is the bat amongst doves,' you know?
Under that, the African map is inked, a tribute to where he is from.
Inside the tattoo of Africa, you'll see a silhouetted lion. The lion is his character as a fighter.
"I have the lion on my chest. That's me when you see me fight. That's the Leo coming forth, the guy who takes charge, who's sure of himself. And then you look at my navel, and I have the two koi fish which look like the Cancer symbol, the star sign," he said.
"They're just chasing each other's tail. It looks like an expression of the Cancer symbol. I realized that while I was stoned and I was going super deep on myself. I was like, 'Whoa, I actually did this before I realized what it was.'"
5. Repping Naija
Also inside that map of Africa, Nigeria is highlighted on the west coast, a tribute to his birth country.
"The map with the lion inside it and Nigeria outline, that was just a stamp on my chest," he said.
"You know, I have it to represent my people no matter that I live and call New Zealand home. My skin already says that enough, because I'm Black, but I stamp it on my chest and my people, my heritage, my ancestry, my bloodline, the warrior race that I come from is stamped on my chest. So people recognize a king when they see one."