Following this weekend’s UFC action, more than a few folks are hoping to see Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya battle in the cage. But, so far, it doesn’t look like that fight’s going to happen anytime soon.
Both fighters scored pivotal victories over the weekend. On Friday, Adesanya worked his way to a decision win over middleweight contender, Brad Tavares, in the headliner of the TUF 27 Finale. Then at UFC 226 on Saturday, Costa took out Uriah Hall in the second round.
Well, leading up to the cards, Adesanya relayed that he was going to be monitoring Costa – Hall, and that he wanted to face the winner. Since both men are two of the middleweight division’s rising stars, and because both are talented / dangerous strikers, talk of the two fighting created some buzz.
But, following Costa’s win on Saturday, he had this to say about fighting “The Last Stylebender”, and what he wants next (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“I don’t know who (he is),” Costa said. “I think when he comes to (the) top 10 or top five … I can think about him.”
“This is just one more victory on my way to the world title,” Costa added. “Now I want to face a top fighter. I want to fight Chris Weidman. No one in this division can win against me. I’m the most powerful middleweight, and I’m showing that in every fight. Uriah had very good timing and connected the jabs, but I knew he would not be able to handle my power. I’m ready for the next battle.”
When you consider that Adesanya isn’t currently ranked in the top 15 – that will surely change soon – these comments from Costa shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Brazilian understands that he could very well get a top five ranked fighter next, so why not call for a bout with a former champ like Weidman.
Now, if you’re thinking, ‘well, the UFC might think differently’, Dana White said he admired Adesanya for calling out Costa, but he also relayed the bout probably won’t happen.
Now that it’s been announced that Kelvin Gastelum is fighting 185 champ Robert Whittaker later this year, maybe the UFC will approach Weidman about fighting Costa. The question is, however, will “The All-American” be interested in taking the fight?