Israel Adesanya criticizes “dumb” Paulo Costa, Brazilian fires back

Israel Adesanya, Paulo Costa

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and his next opponent Paulo Costa had a heated back-and-forth on ESPN’s SportsCenter this week.

Ahead of their fight, which will headline the UFC 253 card in September, both fighters are riding victories over the extremely dangerous Yoel Romero. Costa defeated Romero in a wild fire-fight last August, while Adesanya edged by the Cuban in a slow but tense affair in March.

Adesanya acknowledges that Costa has an exciting fighting style, but believes the Brazilian is “dumb” and will ultimately pay for his aggression in the Octagon.

“He’s dumb,” Adesanya said (via MMA Junkie). “He’s dumb and he walks forward and he throws shots. That’s what makes it really exciting, and that’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to this big, inflated ignoramus, running up on me, trying to throw shots as I keep moving and sticking him.”

Costa was quick to respond to this dig from Adesanya, criticizing the champion’s tactical approach in his matchup with Romero.

“I really think he has good skills,” Costa said of Adesanya. “His best skill is running away – avoid the fight. He’s very good at that – very good when he wants to do that. I tried to ask him why he just stood when he faced Romero. The only thing more disturbing than his hair was his fight against Romero.”

While both fighters are riding triumphs over Romero, Adesanya is confident that he’s beaten the better fighters overall, having picked up other wins over the likes of Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva, Derek Brunson, Brad Tavares and Marvin Vettori. He believes Costa’s only noteworthy wins are his victories over Romero and Uriah Hall.

“The only people he ever beat that are worthy of anything as two guys that are ranked, that was Uriah Hall and Romero,” Adesanya said. “Who else has he beat that’s ranked? Who else has he beat? I can list you four guys that I have, so you have to understand there’s levels to this.

“Like I said, he’s dumb. But that’s what makes him dangerous, as well, because he’s not scared to walk forward and just throw, and he’s strong. But the same thing happens when they step in the cage with me. When they see me, they feel me. They say, ‘Oh my God – he’s a lot stronger than I thought. Oh my God – he’s a lot bigger than I thought.’”

Who do you think will come out when Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa collide at UFC 253?