Nigerian-born New Zealand-based Kiwi UFC star, Israel Adesanya has begun training ahead of his next fight, this time against another Brazilian star, Paulo Costa. Both fighters are undefeated in the UFC.
In February last year, Adesanya beat Brazilian legendary fighter, Anderson Silva in UFC 234’s main event in Melbourne.
In less than two years, Adesanya was crowned the undisputed UFC middleweight champion after trumping Australian star, Robert Whittaker, in Melbourne last October. The Nigerian went on to beat Cuban fighter, Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in March this year, though the spectators witnessed only 88 strikes from the two fighters in their five-round contest.
Now, Adesanya is looking forward to the battle against Brazilian star, Paulo Costa. Both fighters have dislike for one another.
Spectators are currently not permitted at UFC events since the outbreak of COVID-19, and there is no possibility of seeing screaming crowds surrounding the Octagon for several months.
Although the change in atmosphere was surreal for viewers, Adesanya is not remotely fazed by the prospect of fighting in front of empty stands.
“I can adjust to it because I have had a few street fights in my time,” Adesanya told nzherald.c.nz. “It is just going to be really intimate.”
The Brazilian opponent, Paulo Costa was particularly unimpressed with Adesanya’s performance in UFC 248, where he beat Cuban fighter, Yoel Romero.
“I was ashamed to watch that fight,” Costa told reporters. “Adesanya is nothing. Adesanya is the most shameful champion I have ever seen. He just runs. He’s nothing. He’s scared.
“I will make him cry. I will hit him very badly. And he will cry like a baby. I will slap his face.”
Costa’s coach has proclaimed the pair’s eventual encounter would be “the greatest middleweight title fight in history,” but also predicted the Brazilian would emerge as the victor.
However, Adesanya has politely disagreed saying: “This will probably be one of my faster knockouts.” (Costa’s) over confident. He’s already playing into my hand in the sense that he really thinks he’s going to walk through everything I throw.
“I don’t like his face, so I’m going to punch it, a lot. And he’s going to run into it with all that confidence, and he’s going to fall down. He thinks he’s invincible. I know I’m not,” Adesanya stated.