UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya says he's had malaria eight times in his life

It's safe to say that UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has accomplished a fair amount in his life and career as an MMA fighter. But it would appear that any and all accolades he receives as a result of succeeding in the sport may pale in comparison to what his body has overcome just to get him to this point.

During a media scrum ahead of his UFC 248 title defense against Yoel Romero, Adesanya said that he had a bit of a propensity to contract malaria as a kid. He referred reporters to his mother after he revealed that he had gotten the disease eight times, according to The Athletic.

It would seem that Adesanya has taken this to mean his immune system is among the toughest given that he survived all eight of those experiences. It's a fair assessment after he described his living situation in Nigeria as his room having red dots everywhere from all the mosquitos he had to kill throughout the night.

According to a malaria fact sheet created in 2011 for the Department of State, Nigeria sees approximately 100 million malaria cases with over 300,000 deaths per year (a rate of about 0.27%). In the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are 1,500 cases of malaria with about five deaths annually (about a 0.33% rate). Given that Adesanya used the word "mansion" when describing his childhood home, and that he's ascended to a notable spot on the UFC roster, he probably has the resources to survive a ninth infection.

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For now, however, he'll just need to focus on making it through Saturday's fight.

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