With Paulo Costa seemingly sidelined, it appears that Israel Adesanya could defend the UFC middleweight title against Costa’s most recent foe: Yoel Romero.
Adesanya, who won the belt earlier this month with a TKO of Robert Whittaker, hinted on social media that Romero could be next in line for a shot at UFC gold at 185 pounds.
“You guys just finding out shit we been knowing for weeks and plotting on for months! #staywoke #iseeyousoonboi,” Adesanya wrote Tuesday in a tweet that tagged Romero.
Costa defeated Romero by split decision at UFC 241 in August in what was considered almost certainly a title eliminator for the winner of Whittaker vs. Adesanya, which ended up being Adesanya by second-round TKO at UFC 243. Costa, however, had surgery on his left bicep in September. He is still recovering from that, and though he said he would be able to fight by December, UFC president Dana White said earlier this week it’ll take the Brazilian eight more months to return to action.
Costa’s coach Eric Albaraccin told Bloody Elbow he is hopeful Costa will be able to return before then. Albaraccin did not elaborate on whether or not Costa still expects to be Adesanya’s next challenger.
White said the promotion is currently working on something else for Adesanya, adding it wasn’t a superfight with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Another fighter in the mix at 185 pounds is Jared Cannonier, who recently finished Jack Hermansson. White did not say whom Adesanya will fight next if not Costa.
Romero also piped in on social media, hinting himself at a potential fight with Adesanya.
“#iseeyousoonboi @stylebender,” Romero wrote Tuesday.
Before the narrow loss to Costa, Romero fell short to former champ Whittaker twice, but both were very competitive. Some felt Romero deserved to win the rematch, which was one of the best fights of 2018. A vicious knockout of Luke Rockhold fell between the two Whittaker fights. Romero also holds wins over Chris Weidman, Ronaldo Souza, and Lyoto Machida.