Portuguese football legend Cristiano Ronaldo has tried to convince Israel Adesanya to make an early return from his UFC break when both athletes met in Saudi.
The former two-time middleweight champion confirmed plans for a lengthy break from active competition until potentially 2027 at the earliest following his September title loss.
However, on Saturday, Adesanya appeared to have his interested piqued by a planned UFC debut in Saudi Arabia in March of next year and hinted at a potential comeback.
The Nigerian-born fighter was part of the hosts of celebrities and high-profile athletes hosted by the Saudi Arabian organisers and promoters of the blockbuster heavyweight boxing clash between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou.
Adesanya ran into Ronaldo at the event and the two had a wholesome interaction that included the Al Nassr striker urging the UFC star to fight on the upcoming UFC card in the country.
Ronaldo urged ‘The Last Stylebender’ to fight in the recently announced first-ever UFC event in Saudi Arabia in March 2024.
According to Sportskeeda, CR7 claimed to have seen the card and asked why Adesanya was not on it, and ‘Izzy’s attempts at explaining his hiatus fell flat as he embraced the former Real Madrid man and seemed to be open to the idea telling Ronaldo that if he didn’t fight, he would come watch.
Appearing to already backtrack on his hiatus away from the sport of mixed martial arts, Adesanya claimed he was tempted by a potential feature at the fight in Saudi Arabia next year.
“I appreciate the love from greats who recognize the realness!” Israel Adesanya posted on his official X account. “ Saudi Arabia in March… tempting hahaha.”
He had admitted in October that taking on a number of fights over the past year to get the most out of MMA during his career had caught up to him.
“Four fights in the last 14 months, it takes a toll on your body,’ he said, noting that he had seen the doctors and done specialist tests to get himself back ready for fighting.
“I’m just going to take my time to heal, and then when I come back, f**king run for the hills,” the 34-year-old said.