Wallid Ismail claims Israel Adesanya has turned Paulo Costa down for UFC 251 and UFC 252.
Ever since Paulo Costa beat Yoel Romero at UFC 241 last August, it was expected the Brazilian would fight the winner of Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker. Ultimately, it was “The Last Stylebender” who got the job done against Whittaker, and he and Costa were then targeted to fight in March. Yet, Costa suffered an injury so Adesanya defended his belt against Yoel Romero instead.
Now, according to Costa’s manager, Wallid Ismail, he says Adesanya has since turned Costa twice.
“UFC offered Adesanya to fight on July 11 and August 15 and Adesanya declined both times,” Ismail said to BJPENN.com. “His coach claims Adesanya hasn’t gotten an offer which is not true. We have proof.”
The hope according to Ismail was that Adesanya vs. Costa would headline the July 11 card, where he says they got an offer for that fight in May. But, it was turned down and the UFC then reportedly offered the fight at UFC 252 in August to be the co-main for Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier. Yet, Ismail claims the middleweight champ turned that down as well.
Ismail believes Adesanya and his team no longer want to fight Costa as they know it is a bad matchup.
Yet, he says the UFC is adamant about making the fight happen this year. Ismail says it is being discussed for UFC 253 in September if Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t fight Justin Gaethje following the death of his father. But, it is looking more likely that it will take place in October and serve as the main event.
Paulo Costa is currently 13-0 as a pro while being 5-0 in the UFC with four knockout wins. The Brazilian has notable wins over Romero, Uriah Hall, and Johny Hendricks.
Israel Adesanya, meanwhile, is 19-0, including being 8-0 inside the Octagon. He is coming off his first title defense over Romero following the knockout win over Whittaker. He also has notable wins over Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva, and Derek Brunson.
There is no doubt an Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa fight is massive as the two do not like one another. But, it appears the fight won’t happen until later this year.
Who do you think will win, Israel Adesanya or Paulo Costa?