Israel Adesanya wouldn’t guarantee anything Saturday night, but it seems pretty safe to say that his first title defense will come against Paulo Costa.
Adesanya, who defeated Robert Whittaker in the UFC 243 main event to become the new UFC middleweight champion, said after his win that he’s looking forward to getting his hands on “The Eraser.”
“He’s my b-tch,” Adesanya said at the post-fight press conference. “I want to make him my b-tch.”
Adesanya said he plans to talk to his coaches before committing to a date for his next fight, but he came out of the Whittaker fight rather unscathed. “The Last Stylebender” finished Whittaker with strikes in the second round after nearly knocking him out at the very end of the first round. The win improved Adesanya’s UFC record to 7-0 and pro MMA record to 18-0.
Adesanya called Costa’s fight style “basic,” adding that that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Costa was in attendance in Melbourne, Australia, and Adesanya called the Brazilian out as soon as the fight was over.
“Basic is what my sh-t is built on — foundation,” Adesanya said. “I just know how to work off my basics; he doesn’t. Everyone he fights is a punching bag that’s just waiting there to get hit. I can’t wait till I fight him.”
Multiple fighters have accused Costa of PED use in the past because of his large physique, but Costa has always brushed those claims off. Costa, who is coming off a narrow win over Yoel Romero in August, has had a lot of hype behind him ever since he debuted in the UFC a few years ago — largely because of his physique and brutal power.
Adesanya said he used to think a person had to be big and strong to be a “tough guy,” but Jackie Chan and former UFC champ Anderson Silva changed his perception. He hopes to change fans’ perceptions of what a top prospect should be when he faces Costa.
“I had the idea — I think it was something that’s been infused through Hollywood — that you gotta be this John Rambo motherf-cker to be a fighter and be a tough guy, because that’s what you see in movies, that’s what you grow up watching,” Adesanya said. “Everyone still sees that, and it’s just embedded in them that they think, ‘That’s a bad motherf-cker, that’s the guy.’ It’s like, nah. ... I don’t need power, everyone has power. I have precision.”