UFC: Israel Adesanya's message to his school bullies following world title heroics

Kiwi UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has a message for the bullies who picked on him as a kid.

"Be nice to people - you never know who you're messing with."

'The Last Stylebender' defeated Australian Robert Whittaker in the second round of his fight at UFC 243, landing a left hook on his opponent to send him to the canvas.

On The AM Show on Thursday, Adesanya spoke of those who picked on him during his high school years.

"They've seen me now," he said. "I keep some of them on my Facebook, so they can see how I'm shining.

"In my head, I look at my bullies. I still see them as bigger than me, but when I go back to Rotorua I'm like, 'I was scared of you'?"

The 30-year-old's knockout of Whittaker - who was previously undefeated at middleweight - was the brightest moment yet in a whirlwind rise to one of the sport's biggest stars.

Recounting the moment he knew the title was his, Adesanya was determined not to get ahead of himself.

"That's when you start to lose," he told The AM Show. "There's a fine balance of knowing you're the best and knowing you're nothing."