UFC 248: Israel Adesanya claims he's immune to coronavirus ahead of Yoel Romero bout

Kiwi UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya claims he is unlikely to contract coronavirus, as the contagious disease continues to wreak havoc on sporting events across the world.

Adesanya is in Las Vegas, preparing to defend his middleweight belt against Yoel Romero at UFC 248 on Sunday (NZ time). 

In the United States, 11 deaths have been linked to the virus, with 177 confirmed cases across 18 different states, including Nevada, where Adesanya is scheduled to face Cuban Yoel Romero. 

Around the world, more than 90,000 cases and 3000 deaths have been reported.

But 'The Last Stylebender' says he has a superior immune system, after he was diagnosed with malaria eight times during his childhood. 

"How many people died from the coronavirus so far?" he said. "How many people have had the common cold? 

"There’s this hype about corona and I had my face mask on at the airport, but at the end of the day, I’ve had malaria eight times.

UFC 248: Israel Adesanya claims he's immune to coronavirus ahead of Yoel Romero bout

"My genetics are different and I'm not above nature, don’t get me wrong. I don't subject to that.

"I don't see myself getting affected by that.

Earlier in the week, rumours circulated that Adesanya, 30, had something else that could kill, if not treated. 

But Adesanya was quick to brush those rumours aside. 

"You guys thought I had staph this week. I've never had staph in my life. 

"I don’t know what staph feels like. Some people have had it, where I'm from, but I've never had it and I never will, knock on wood. 

"And malaria is the biggest killer in the world, isn’t it? So, this whole corona shit - f**kin' knock on wood, I hope I don't get it now, talking shit about corona." 

UFC president Dana White believes the novel coronavirus outbreak that's currently sweeping the globe is "a serious problem" and insists all the appropriate steps have been taken for this weekend's event. 

Women's strawweight champion Weili Zhang of China, also on the card as the co-main event alongside Adesanya, has taken precautions to ensure she would be fit to fight at UFC 248.

Join us for live updates of Adesanya v Romero at UFC 248 from 2pm Sunday