Israel Adesanya confident he’s already under Paulo Costa’s skin

Israel Adesanya, UFC 243, Dan Hooker
Image via @stylebender on Instagram

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya believes he’s already under the skin of his next challenger, Brazilian knockout artist Paulo Costa.

Adesanya and Costa, who will square off in the main event of UFC 253 on September 26, have been exchanging ceaseless trash talk for months. Their most skirmish occurred during a joint appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter, during which their mutual animus seemed to reach a new levels of intensity.

Speaking on Submission Radio recently, Adesanya looked back on this tense encounter with Costa, sharing his belief that he’s already under his rival’s skin.

“I think I’m under his skin already,” Adesanya said (h/t MMA Fighting). “Not really think, I know I’m under his skin already. I kind of wish this was, what do you call it, BC, before corona. I wish it was BC, because that way it would be a press conference around different countries or different cities, and I could see him face to face and I could actually give him sh*t and really dig under his skin. But he’s very easy to get under his skin.”

Given how tense Adesanya and Costa’s rivalry has become, it would not be shocking at all if the pair got physical in the days leading up to their fight. We’ve seen such things happen before.

Adesanya, however, advises his Brazilian rivalry to behave himself.

“He’s not going to have enough energy to do sh*t,” Adesanya said. “He’ll be sucked out, dry to the bone. He’ll probably be pretty quiet, I’m assuming. Or he’ll say something and then shut up. But if we run into each other, I don’t care if he wants to throw down, we can throw down. I have my whole crew with me. I’ll have the gang gang with me.

“You don’t understand. I’ve got the gang with me. So, if he wants to try something stupid with white glasses and f*cking cringe King whoever, bring it. My gang versus your gang. But I’d rather whoop his ass in the cage. So, he better not try something stupid.”

Do you think Israel Adesanya is under Paulo Costa’s skin?