Undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight title contender Paulo Costa, who recently shared a memorable SportsCenter appearance with reigning 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya, believes “The Last Stylebender” is unprepared to handle the self-proclaimed “toughest guy on the planet.”
We’re going to find out in roughly one month, as Costa and Adesanya are set to collide in the UFC 253 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on Sept. 26. And while the city and venue have yet to be made official, their five-round headliner is expected to take place on “Fight Island” in Abu Dhabi to circumvent the coronavirus travel restrictions.
“I like to think of myself like a real tough guy, maybe the toughest guy on the planet,” Costa told Submission Radio. “Because I train very hard, with two, three guys at the same session training, with very hard hits, very hard punches, very hard kicks for real. 100 percent, I mean. Not just fake, just shadowboxing. No. So, this makes me very prepared to fight in real fights with real opponents like Romero. I am not afraid to get hit, because I did this already in my fight camp for two or three months. So, I’m properly prepared to make it a real fight.”
Costa absorbed 125 significant strikes in his unanimous decision victory over Yoel Romero at UFC 241 last summer, more than half of which landed to the head. Love him or hate him, there is no denying “The Eraser” can take a punch, which he believes will be the difference maker in his five-round showdown next month in Abu Dhabi.
“So, that’s the difference I think I have between me and Adesanya,” Costa continued. “He’s fragile. He knows that. He knows he’s fragile. He knows he cannot get two or three very hard hits on his face, on his body. He will be broken. He knows that already because he knocked out two times, with big gloves in kickboxing to a guy named Alex Pereira with big gloves, 14 or 16 oz gloves. Imagine what I can do with him, with his skinny, fragile body with 4oz on my hands.”
We’ll find out on Sept. 26.