Israel Adesanya is expected to battle fellow UFC champ, Robert Whittaker, next, but “The Last Stylebender” and Paulo Costa also appear to be on a collision course.
Adesanya is coming off a decision win over Kelvin Gastelum earlier this month, which left him holding the interim middleweight title. As a result, the rising star will face the undisputed champ Whittaker, later this year.
Well, after Adesanya’s victory at UFC 236, which was heralded as one of the best title fights in the promotion’s recent history, Costa made it clear he wasn’t impressed with the vaunted striker. In fact, the massive middleweight scoffed at the fact Adesanya is now the interim champ.
Since then, Adesanya was asked to weigh-in on Costa’s comments during an appearance on “The MMA Hour”. Here’s some of what the fighter had to say (quotes via MMA Fighting)
“Fake champ? Does he have belt? He wishes he was a fake champion as well” Adesanya laughed. “Didn’t he get popped for something recently? Like Açaí in the stomach or something? I just want to get him before USADA gets him and eventually, if he climbs up the ranks like he thinks he will, then eventually we’ll see each other. Gastelum is a tough guy and he got touched up by Uriah. Did you see his face after the Uriah fight? He got touched up.”
“But, hey, even Chris Weidman gave me props. He gave me props when it was due. So, a guy like [Costa] is salty. He’s salty because I’m the one getting the shine so they’re trying to steal my shine and I’m like ‘f*ck no.’”
Now, Costa fans probably won’t care for the response here. But, you have to admit, it’s another demonstration of Adesanya’s verbal gifts. It will be interesting to see whether these two meet in sometime in the near future. When you consider they’re both under 30, even if they don’t fight say in the next year, there’s a good chance they’ll battle at some juncture.
Costa has had a couple of planned bouts with Yoel Romero fall through now. It’s not clear right now whether the UFC will try again to put that fight together. The powerful fighter has competed now since last July, when he stopped the aforementioned, Uriah Hall. That victory was Costa’s fourth straight in the UFC.
Adesanya and Whittaker, meanwhile, are expected to fight late summer, early fall, in Australia. UFC President Dana White has said he hopes to have that bout take place in a stadium.