Israel Adesanya

Paulo Costa’s manager says Israel Adesanya turned down fights at both UFC 251 and UFC 252

The UFC has some highly intriguing fights slated to take place in the second half of 2020, but one of the most anticipated upcoming fights is without question the expected middleweight title fight between undefeated champion Israel Adesanya and undefeated top contender Paulo Costa.

It was originally thought that the two would meet at some time during the summer, but the bout still doesn’t have an official date and according to Costa’s manager, Wallid Ismail, Adesanya has turned down the bout on more than one occasion.

“UFC offered Adesanya to fight on July 11 and August 15 and Adesanya declined both times,” Ismail told “His coach claims Adesanya hasn’t gotten an offer which is not true. We have proof.”

Initially, Costa was expected to take on the winner of last October’s title fight between then-champion Robert Whittaker and Adesanya, which Adesanya won, but the Brazilian suffered an injury. “The Last Stylebender” then took on Yoel Romero this past March, successfully defending his title in rather lackluster fashion.

As far as when the fight could take place, it seems as if a date in the fall is now being targeted, but it has also been rumored that Adesanya and Costa could be coaching the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, which Ismail believes “would be huge” if true.

“It would be huge,” Ismail said via MMA Fighting. “Everybody loves watching two guys that hate each other. When was the last time you saw two undefeated guys fighting for the belt? It’s going to be incredible.”

When discussing the magnitude of the fight and the potential TUF season, Ismail certainly has a point as Adesanya currently sits at 18-0 while Costa holds a 13-0 record. Both men are also exciting strikers with finishing ability, making the matchup an appealing one.

Ultimately, Ismail is hoping to see the fight come to fruition before the year ends.

“Don’t run away from this fight please,” Ismail said. “His coach is trying to act like a manager now and that’s how careers end. We’re hoping to have a date some time this year, and I just hope they stop crying. Adesanya is crying. He can’t say anything online until he actually signs the deal. If you’re offered a fight and don’t take it, you can’t say anything.”

Stay tuned to as more news regarding the potential bout unfolds.

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