Israel Adesanya’s coming out party went down Sunday afternoon in Melbourne and featured “The Last Stylebender” knocking out Robert Whittaker in two rounds to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion (watch the highlights here).
But you know how it is: as soon as one bout is over, people are already looking forward to the next. And Adesanya was as well, taking time away from celebrating with his family to antagonize #1 contender Paulo Costa in the crowd.
That upset Costa, who seems to take everything very personally and unleash it in a torrent of violence come fight night. Costa is already talking about killing Adesanya in the ring, but is Adesanya worried? Not at all.
”Right now there’s nothing set in stone,” Adesanya said at the UFC 243 post-fight press conference when asked if Costa was next. “I’m just feeling it. I like that fight. The casuals, they’re dumb. They see a beefed up beefcake like [Costa] and think ‘That’s the guy.’ I’m still all hype, by the way. Don’t worry, I’m just a hype train. So yeah, they’ll see that and think ‘That’s the guy! That’s the guy!’ They just want to see me lose, but they’re going to be waiting a long time.”
Adesanya was more than happy to antagonize Costa after his win.
”I enjoyed it myself, I definitely enjoyed it,” he said. “It sells the next fight a little bit. But at the same time, he’s a bitch. He’s my bitch. I want to make him my bitch, so that’s why I did what I did.”
You get the feeling listening to him that “The Last Stylebender” wants to change the public perception that you have to be a ‘beefed up beefcake’ to compete as a top martial artist.
”Anderson Silva really changed my mentality about martial arts,” Adesanya said. “Jackie Chan first did, then Anderson Silva. I had the idea, I think it’s something that’s infused by Hollywood, that you have to be this jacked Rambo motherf**ker to be a fighter and be a tough guy because that’s what you see in movies, that’s what you grew up watching.”
”So everyone still sees that and it’s just embedded in them that ‘That’s a bad motherf**ker, that’s the guy.’ I’m like nah. And look at me, ‘Ah he’s so skinny, bro. I’m going to break his face, bro. I’m going to break him. You’ve got no power, bro.’ Well, I don’t need power. Everyone has power. I have precision.”
As for what Adesanya thinks of Costa’s skillset specifically?
”It’s basic, but that’s not a bad thing,” he said. “Basic is what my s**t is built on. Foundation. 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. And I can’t wait til I fight him. I’m not impressed, to be honest. I’m not impressed by your performance.”
And for those who felt like they didn’t get their fill of Adesanya with him finishing Robert Whittaker inside of two rounds? It sounds like he could be back sooner rather than later.
”Right now I’m fresh,” he said. “We can go any time. But not in the near future until I talk to my coaches.”