UFC middleweight contender Paulo Costa was surprised by Israel Adesanya’s kind and gentle approach to their run-in on Fight Island.
The two men are set to battle it out for the UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 253 this weekend in one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year so far. Before they step into the Octagon and go to war, though, they also bumped into one another after they both arrived in Abu Dhabi for the event.
During one of his pre-fight interviews, Costa gave his thoughts on how “The Last Stylebender” behaved during their interaction.
“I don’t know what happened, he changed his personality a lot, his persona,” Costa explained (via MMA Mania). “The Adesanya that I saw on the video conference was a very disrespectful guy, he showed his fingers a lot to me. But when I met him upstairs, he was very kind, very gentle.
“I was waiting for a different kind of guy. He came and gave his hand to shake, asked how I feel, ‘how you feel, you feel good?’ He said, ‘yeah you looked very good, I like.’ What you like? But it’s okay, if he changes, okay.”
Regardless of how they speak to one another or how cordial they may be, it’s clear to see that Adesanya is still very, very confident in his ability to win the fight this against Costa on Saturday.
“I think the muscles fool everyone. The muscles and the whole flurries and fighting punching bags fool everyone,” Israel Adesanya said of Costa at media day. “Everyone thinks, wow this is a big fight. I’m like, nah. I’ve already had the fight of the middleweight division, which was Kelvin Gastelum. I’ve already had the biggest fight in the middleweight division crowd-wise, which was Robert Whittaker. I’m gonna make it look easy. A lot of people are gonna be shocked by that.”
If he does get past Costa, Adesanya seems to be interested in the possibility of a showdown with Jared Cannonier next.
“He’s been the dark horse of the division. I look forward to challenges like that,” he said. “Me and my coaches have had an eye on him for a while.”
While that may interest him, it goes without saying that Israel Adesanya needs to focus on the huge task at hand – because Paulo Costa isn’t going to go down without a fight.