Undefeated middleweight contender Paulo Costa is putting the pedal to the metal ahead of his title fight with current champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 253 later this month. This includes a terrifying training camp and relentless trash talk to try and throw “Last Stylebender” off his game.
While Costa has said many things about Adesanya over the past year the Brazilian fighter seems to focus on the champion’s elusive ways inside of the cage. Many look at “Last Stylebender” as one of the more technical strikers in the sport today, but Costa believes Adesanya runs more than he fights, pointing out the champ’s lackluster title defense against Yoel Romero this past March.
Costa, who does very little to avoid conflict inside of the cage, recently took another shot at Adesanya by calling him the “No 1. fastest runner in the world” after Usain Bolt tested positive for COVID-19.
“I think he will be like [Yoel] Romero [fight] — more running,” Costa said about Adesanya during UFC 253’s virtual media day.
“I don’t know if you know but Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world he got coronavirus. I wish the best for him, good recovery for him. But with this news, now Adesanya is now the No. 1 fastest man in the world. Adesanya is now official the No. 1 fastest runner of the world.”
Costa, who has finished four out of his five Octagon victories by way of knockout, is considered one of the most dangerous power punchers in the sport today. His approach to striking on the feet is vastly different than that of Adesanya, who takes time to advance and doesn’t necessarily throw everything into his shots. While Costa understands that “Last Stylebender” may be able to score some points and win a few rounds he’s adamant that he’ll still find a way to finish the undefeated champion.
“I’m not going to just be a winner by one advantage or one point. I’m going to destroy him,” Costa said. “I don’t care for judges gives some round to him because I’m not going to take this fight by decision. I’m training to destroy him. I believe the fighter cannot be sad when he lost by decision because it needs to be clear. That’s what I do.
“I go to finish the fight and not let judges [get involved]. I go to destroy him. That’s what I do. I’m training to do that, to destroy him. For sure, I don’t believe he will be there until the third round. I will finish the fight with ground and pound. I will take him down. I will finish this fight with striking, but he will not get on the third round.”
Costa, who is coming off the first decision win of his professional MMA career, has never fought beyond a third round. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Brazilian can do if his grudge match with Adesanya trickles into the championship rounds.
Still, “Borrachinha” remains super confident about his abilities as a fighter and his preparation for UFC 253. This includes his pre-fight sparring sessions inside of the cage and his mental warfare outside of it.
“I don’t try to break him mentally before. If he’s broken, it’s because he’s weak,” Costa said. “If he’s sh*tting his pants before the fight, too bad for him. I’m confident in myself. I’m confident in my training. I know what I did in my sparring days. I know everything I’m working for.
“I’m working for to cut his head off. I don’t know if his mind is broken or not. I don’t care. I go there and I will erase him if he’s good or not. If he sh*ts his pants or not. I will finish him.”
UFC 253 will take place on Sept. 26 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Adesanya’s clash with Costa will serve as the main event while an interim title fight between light heavyweights Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz will be the co-headliner.
For more UFC 253 fight card news click here.