Adesanya and Pierce discuss their athletic careers.

Adesanya and Pierce discuss their athletic careers.

Fight week for UFC 243 kicked off in Melbourne…

…with a meeting between two athletic greats, UFC middleweight interim champion Israel Adesanya (17-0) and NBA champion Paul Pierce. 

The meeting which took place at Marvel Stadium, the arena in which Adesanya is set to challenge middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (21-4) for the title on Sunday, saw the pair discuss their careers both in mixed martial arts and basketball in front of an enormous mural of Adesanya himself.

The mural of Israel Adesanya overlooking Marvel Stadium.

The mural of Israel Adesanya overlooking Marvel Stadium.

While Adesanya explained how he first got into martial arts by taking up Muay Thai, which he described as the “art of eight limbs”, Pierce put on a display of his basketball skills, posing for photos while flicking the ball through the air.

Pierce with a few tricks for the media.

Pierce with a few tricks for the media.

Shortly afterward, Adesanya signed one of his personal UFC walkout t-shirts for Pierce, who returned the favour with the gift of a signed Celtics NBA jersey before wishing him luck with the biggest fight of his MMA career to date.

A signed jersey and walkout shirt exchanged by the pair.

A signed jersey and walkout shirt exchanged by the pair.