Former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold believes Paulo Costa has a real shot at unseating the division’s reigning champion, Israel Adesanya.
Costa is scheduled to challenge Adesanya for the UFC middleweight crown in the main event of UFC 253 on September 19.
Rockhold, who spent many years of his career fighting the very best middleweights in the world, believes Adesanya will have to fight very well to survive his encounter with Costa.
Rockhold shared his take on the matchup during a recent appearance on Submission Radio.
“I think he could easily do that,” Rockhold said, expressing his confidence in Costa. “You have the bull and you have the matador, and Israel needs to use his length to get the f**k away. That dude, Paulo Costa, he just comes forward, comes forward with everything he’s got. But Adesanya, he moves real well, he evades well and he tags well. So, you never know. Everybody can be hurt.”
Paulo Costa, currently unbeaten at 13-0, has not fought since August, 2019, when he picked up a thrilling decision victory over former middleweight title challenger Yoel Romero. After that win, he was expected to get the next crack at Adesanya, but was unfortunately sidelined with a bicep injury.
While Costa healed, Adesanya defended his belt with a decision win over Romero. With Costa now healthy, and Adesanya still sitting on the middleweight throne, the entire world is awaiting their collision.
According to coach Eric Albarracin, who trains Costa, the bout will be the best middleweight title fight in MMA history.
“Paulo Costa vs Adesanya will be the greatest middleweight title fight in history,” the Costa coach told BJPENN.com. “These two hate each other, they are at each other’s throats. When we went to UFC 243, Adesanya called him Ricky Martin, and he does look like Ricky Martin but he hits like Mike Tyson. Adesanya will not step out of the cage there, Costa will erase him.”
Do you think Paulo Costa will swipe the UFC middleweight title from Israel Adesanya at UFC 253?