Following ‘easy’ win over Paulo Costa, Israel Adesanya promises his future includes ‘light heavyweight or heavyweight’
On Saturday night at UFC 253 Israel Adesanya put on a masterful performance, wrecking Paulo Costa’s legs and then moving upstairs to piece up his far larger opponent. It took “Stylebender” just two rounds to dismantle the beast many thought would end his reign, dropping him and finishing him on the mat with a barrage of ground and pound (watch the highlights here).
“He was slower than I thought,” Adesanya told the ESPN post-show crew. “I’m faster on TV as well, but in real life I could feel him, he was slow. He loads up on his kicks, he hit me in the ribs twice. Nothing. I ate that. He didn’t touch me on the face once, still pretty. I could see him, I could see everything. And my skinny shins cut him open like a razor blade.”
“I wanted round one or round four, that’s what I thought,” he said when asked how he expected things to go. “That I’d just slow cook him. But then by the second round I knew his leg was f**ked, he couldn’t push off, he couldn’t bridge. And I told you, he only fights human punching bags ... that let him unload on them. I’m like bro, do I look like a punching bag to you? I’m not fat enough, I’m skinny, bro.”
During the post fight press conference, Adesanya dedicated the win to anyone who has ever been the target of bullying, which is what he considered Costa’s pre-fight hijinx to be.
“It’s not news to anyone that I’ve been bullied my whole life,” Adesanya said. “So for me, back then, I didn’t have the skill or the will to fight back. So when this guy and his little Borrachinhas were doing what they were doing I was like ‘All right, watch this.’ Now I know what to do. I have the will and the skill to take the bite out of the bully. So yeah, that’s what I did.”
“Some of the s**t he did online, some reporter showed me this video of him with his little entrance and skit they made and some memes he’s been doing. Because now - back then they didn’t have that when I was growing up but now kids, they go through that s**t. Social media bullying. And he was trying to do that to me.”
“And for me, it’s like he was trying to trigger the younger Izzy. But do that, and you’ll get the big dog in the yard now. So I dedicate this fight to anyone, be it at school or at home, or even at work if your boss is grinding you, I dedicate this fight to you guys because you have to fight back. You can’t just take it all the time. You have to bite back.”
“If there was any hype job, it was [Costa],” Adesanya said. “He only fought two guys in the top ten and I fought six. That’s triple the top 10 guys he fought. And they still call me a hype job. I ain’t a hype job, but I’m all hype.”
He also revealed why he didn’t keep his hair neon pink, and it turned out it was a tactical decision prompted by his father.
“My dad, the big dog, Dadesanya, said I was gonna blind him with my jab,” he said. “And when he’s compromised in one eye and I take the other eye out, if he sees a pink hue, he’ll still know where my head is. He’ll know where my head is and just aim for the pink hue. So I was like, you’re right. And like a good boy I listened to my dad. He’s a smart man.”
As for the future, Adesanya sounded content to stay in his division and continue to take out the top 185 pound challengers as they come. He named Jared Cannonier and Jack Hermansson as two potential opponents. But he also sounded open to temporarily jumping up in weight for superfights.
“Like what I said about Anderson Silva,” Izzy said. “Anderson Silva defended this belt so many times in the middleweight division, and then he went up to light heavyweight for little shows. I just wanted to f**k up Jon Jones, and I will. I’ll just have to talk to Eugene [Bareman, Izzy’s coach], because he’s talking about Stipe Miocic and other things. So yeah, everything’s open. Cheddar makes it better. Cheddar makes it better.”
“I definitely will go up in weight class, be it light heavyweight or heavyweight.”