Israel Adesanya Wants to Fight Paulo Costa Before “USADA Gets Him”
It's looking like Paulo Costa may not end up being Israel Adesanya's next opponent. But, the middleweight champ's made it clear he still hopes to battle his rival and soon.
Costa’s beef with Adesanya
For months now, Costa has been feuding with Adesanya through the media, even before the latter became the UFC’s middleweight champ. After Costa earned a decision win over longtime contender, Yoel Romero in August, which pushed his record to 13-0, the expectation was he would challenge Adesanya next.
More recently, however, it was announced that Costa has undergone bicep surgery. Costa and his team believe he’ll be ready to fight again by April, but others, including Dana White, believe the powerful fighter will be sidelined for longer. Adesanya called for a bout with Romero, since Costa is on the sidelines, but White has said the UFC wants Romero to fight someone else first.
Adesanya’s latest comments about facing Costa
So, as it stands right now, it’s not clear who and when Adesanya will fight next. But, while speaking to MMA Fighting recently, “The Last Stylebender” repeated that he’s still hoping to throw hands with his rival.
“I guess he wasn’t ready to fight,” Adesanya said. “If he wanted to fight, he would have made sure to do the right things to be in shape already to fight. I don’t pull out. My pullout game is weak.
“Unfortunately for him, he might miss his shot forever if he doesn’t climb his way back up the ranks.”
“That’s why I said I want to fight homeboy Paulo Costa because I want to get him and I want to beat him before USADA gets him,” Adesanya said. “I like the challenge of that.”
“…I was looking forward to my next fight, because that would have sold itself,” Adesanya added later in the interview, while discussing his issues with Costa. “Because he would try to trash talk me in his broken English, and I would embarrass him on the mic, and then eventually I’d embarrass him on the mat…”
So…ya. Chances are Costa and his supporters aren’t going to care for these comments from the champ, particularly the one regarding USADA. In terms of buzz right now for Adesanya’s next bout, aside from a superfight with Jon Jones, it certainly seems like a showdown with Costa is generating the most.
As a result, you have to wonder if maybe the UFC will end up waiting for Costa, if indeed, his recovery’s on track and he can fight in say, April or May. Although Adesanya wants to fight in February or March, Jared Cannonier seems like the only fit for a bout that soon (if indeed, the UFC doesn’t want Romero fighting for the belt yet).