After Israel Adesanya beat Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 to become the middleweight champion, all signs pointed to his first title defense being against Paulo Costa.
It was set to be a massive fight as both of them are undefeated and had a legitimate beef. But, the fight will not happen next as Costa is out with an injury. So, Adesanya now says the Brazilian may have lost this shot forever.
“I guess he wasn’t ready to fight,” Adesanya said of Costa in an interview with MMA Fighting. “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.”
Part of the reason why Israel Adesanya wanted to fight Paulo Costa now was the fact he suspects USADA will suspend him for a long time very soon.
“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.”
In the end, Adesanya’s first title defense may very well be against Jared Cannonier, which the champ says will be a very interesting fight.
“I was looking forward to my next fight, because that would have sold itself,” Adesanya explained about a potential showdown 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 that was already set in stone that it was going to be glorious.
“But a guy like Cannonier, I don’t have to. The fight sells itself because of the skillset, and just people want to watch me. Something about me that people just want to watch me get my ass kicked maybe. So they’ll be tuning in either way.”