Israel Adesanya, who thumped Brad Tavares in the TUF 27 Finale main event, and Paulo Costa, who smoked Uriah Hall on the UFC 226 undercard, are two of the fastest rising stars in the UFC middleweight division. In fact, they’re two of the fastest rising stars in any UFC division.
Given that they both picked up decisive wins over established UFC middleweights last weekend, many fans and pundits began calling for a matchup between them. Apparently, however, any potential fight between the pair is likely to occur later on.
Speaking on the JRE MMA Show this week, Adesanya explained that, after crossing paths with UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard and UFC President Dana White in a club in Las Vegas, he learned that the UFC will probably go another direction for his next fight.
“I see Mick Maynard, and I’m like, ‘What the hell?’ Then we just start yarning,” Adesanya said (transcribed by Mike Bohn for MMAjunkie). “He said, ‘I’ll introduce you to Dana.’ I finally met Dana properly, and we start talking. I dropped [Paulo Costa’s] name in there like, ‘Yeah, I want to fight him next.’ But they have other ideas. Fair enough. They’ve done this a long time. They’re promoters.”
“What they want is me being a bigger name, Paulo being a bigger name, and we fight like in some super fight [later],” he continued, before adding that he expects to meet Costa more than once over the course of his UFC career. “I can see why [they want] that. But for me, I want to take him out now. He just knocked out Uriah Hall, who was talking mad shit, as well. I want to take him out now before we fight again. We’ll probably fight more than once. We’ll see what happens and how long his UFC career lasts, but I think he’ll probably fight with me and we’ll probably fight more than once.”
Do you think we’ll see the surging middleweight prospects Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya meet more than once over the next few years? Who do you think will come out on top in this rivalry?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/11/2018.