Israel Adesanya has his own theory on power punchers.
The middleweight champion is set to defend his title for a second time in the main event of UFC 253 on Saturday, September 26. He will be facing off against Paulo Costa, who is currently undefeated and is known for being able to finish his opponents with his punching power. “Borrachinha” has finished a whopping nine out of 13 fights via knockout punches.
However, Adesanya isn’t convinced that Costa will be able to do any fight-altering damage. The champion has already faced off against some of the division’s most powerful strikers including Yoel Romero. He believes that once punching power reaches a certain threshold, they all feel the same.
“Put it this way,” Adesanya said during an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “If Paulo Costa is an 8 and Derek Brunson is a 6, you only need a 3/4 to KO someone and you can’t feel the rest anyway due to adrenaline. So, it’s the same.”
Over the past year, both Adesanya and Costa have hurled insults at each other and have gone back and forth on social media. For Adesanya, their rivalry makes for the perfect UFC fighting story and he has even accused Costa of using performance-enhancing drugs.
“I think it’s great for me, it’s that aesthetic of it, I’m this skinny person, this little frail kid that everyone looks at,” Adesanya said during a pre-fight virtual media day. “And he looks like the perfect antagonist, he’s big, bulky and juiced up to the f*cking gills. He’s a guy that beats everybody on the fence, so when I come out there with the Bruce Lee sh*t and f*ck him up, it’s going to be ‘oh my god wow, he beat that big muscle boy.’”
Adesanya explained that he believes the aesthetics of his rivalry against Costa will engage casual MMA fans and bring more viewers to the sport, similar to Conor McGregor and how he managed to rally fans for his fights against the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Eddie Alvarez. He also thinks it will lead him to the bigger paycheque.
“Like the casuals are going to feed off of it, and I love that because it means more eyes, more attention and like I said, you don’t have to watch my fights, but you’re going to pay, and I’m not talking money, I’m talking you’re going to pay attention,” Adesanya said.
“And attention turns to…” He said while making a money sign with his fingers.
Do you think Israel Adesanya can survive the power of Paulo Costa at UFC 253?