Israel Adesanya wants to get to Paulo Costa ‘before USADA does’

Paulo Costa, Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya believes top contender Paulo Costa will inevitably get busted by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, and wants to get to the Brazilian before that happens.

Costa, who is a perfect 13-0 as a pro, cemented himself as the middleweight division’s top contender last August when he defeated Yoel Romero with a close decision win. Unfortunately, he then sustained a bicep injury which kept him on the sidelines, while Romero was granted the next shot at Adesanya.

Despite this twist of fate, Costa will be in Las Vegas for UFC 248 this weekend, and will be sitting cage-side when Adesanya and Romero collide in the card’s main event.

Speaking at UFC 248 media day, Adesanya was asked if he plans to address Costa after his fight with Romero. He seemed hesitant, reminding that he already called the Brazilian out. He also snuck in a jab at his rival, suggesting he wants to get to him before USADA does.

“I called him (out) after the last fight, but then – come on, man,” Adesanya said (via MMAJunkie.com). “I’m going to pop that (expletive) before USADA does, I swear to God. I want to be the first one to do it.

“He’s next in line, but I might not give him any mind (during my post-fight interview). I’ve already done that in Melbourne. The promo is already there, if you will. If you try something stupid, I’ll pop him again.”

While Paulo Costa was previously suspended by for six months by USADA for using an IV — a banned practice under USADA rule — he has never tested positive for a banned substance. Evidently, however, Adesanya is suspicious of his rival’s thickly muscled physique.

Do you think we’ll see Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa fight this year? Who do you think would win?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/5/2020.