The ongoing rivalry between undisputed middleweight best, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya, and surging contender, Paulo ‘Eraser’ (formerly ‘Borrachinha’) Costa, has been brewing both behind the scenes, and publicly for some time now. Last August – Costa had cemented his status as number-one contender to the middleweight throne via a close unanimous decision triumph over Yoel Romero.
Fast-forward seven months – the Brazilian has been forced to the sidelines due to surgery on a bicep injury – with Romero taking his place in a middleweight title clash with Adesanya at this weekend’s UFC 248. Speaking with Colin Crandall from the MMA Power Hour ‘Super Sessions’ on Friday evening – the Belo Horizonte native revealed how Adesanya had alleged turned down a title defence against him in April.
“(Israel) Adesanya avoided this fight against me, in April” Costa explained. “I called with Wallid (Ismail), Dana White and said, ‘Dana, I can fight in April, or May maybe, but April – I can rush to fight with this guy. I don’t need to get to 100% to beat him, Adesanya. And, he said, ‘Okay, let me see with Adesanya’, and Adesanya said, ‘Oh, no, no, no, I cannot fight, or I cannot wait for Paulo until April, I need to fight
in March’. It doesn’t make sense, right, to fight against Romero? Who’s come from two or three losses in a row. To me, he’s avoiding that fight against me. Let’s see what happens.“
If Adesanya leaves UFC 248 unscathed – Costa’s manager, Wallid Ismail also revealed how the promotion is working on a middleweight title clash involving Costa in July. If Adesanya drops the title tomorrow night against Romero, no problem. The Brazilian striker also spoke about his intentions to rematch the Cuban freestyle wrestler – this time, with gold up for grabs.