Paulo Costa refutes expectation that he will “chase” Israel Adesanya in the Octagon

Paulo Costa, Luke Rockhold

Paulo Costa is refuting the widespread expectation that he’ll “chase” UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in their UFC 253 middleweight title fight.

Costa is known as one of the most aggressive fighters in MMA, while Adesanya is known as a more defense-minded counter-striker. Given that, many fans expect Costa to follow his foe around the ring on fight night.

In fact, that’s what Adesanya seems to expect.

“He’s dumb and he walks forward and he throws shots,” Adesanya told ESPN recently, previewing his fight with Costa. “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.

“He’s not scared to walk forward and just throw, and he’s strong.”

Costa, however, says he has no plans to chase the champion if he attempts to avoid a firefight.

“First of all, I think he’s a [counter-striker],” Costa said at Wednesday’s UFC 253 media day (via MMA Fighting). “Everybody here saw when he fought Romero. If one guy doesn’t push him, he will not push out. He stood, the guy came for him.

“So I will try to push him, to bring him to the fight, but if he avoid the fight I will not chase him all the time. I will go back to the middle and cut the angles and try to make the fight happen.”

Costa went on to downplay the perception that he’s overly aggressive, emphasizing that he can be just as much of a “sniper” as Adesanya.

“That’s exactly what I try to show to everybody, but the people have some thoughts that he’s the sniper and I’m just the tough guy who throw heavy punches but I’m not,” Costa said. “My punches have ‘the correct address to arrive.’”

What kind of strategy do you think we’ll see from Paulo Costa at UFC 253 this Saturday?