Back in Sept. 2020, Paulo Costa got taken apart by Israel Adesanya and finished in the second round of their fight via technical knockout, a loss he has never taken particularly well. Even now — nearly six months later — he’s still talking about it and trying to explain away why “The Last Stylebender” was able to defeat him in such a one-sided fashion.
Finally, he’s sharing some specific details on what was wrong that morning at UFC 253 on “Fight Island” when they fought.
“The difference is that when I fought Adesanya, I was only using 20 percent of my capacity so we had to change our strategy last minute,” Costa said in a YouTube video. “We waited and attacked only in the second round ... and today, we know that was a big mistake. But that’s easy to say now. The correct decision would’ve been to not fight because of the poor condition I was in. But anyway, I just had to talk about that a little because a lot of people asked me what happened, why I was so different.
“I was different because I wasn’t feeling well at all. I didn’t sleep the night before the fight,” he continued. “I was having severe leg cramps in the locker room before the fight. The athletic commission came to my locker room twice to check on my leg to remove the oil that we had put on my leg in order to massage it. A lot of things happened.
“I fought him with no sleep,” Costa continued. “I didn’t sleep the night before because of the leg cramps I was having all night. The fight happened at 9 a.m. there so we had to get up at 5 a.m. We had to stretch, warm up, wrap hands and do all the things we normally do before the fight. It was 2:30 a.m. and I hadn’t slept yet. It was my mistake, I don’t blame anyone for this.”
“Because I needed to sleep I had been awake for 24 hours. I drank wine, an entire bottle. To try and literally pass out to sleep. It started with one glass, it didn’t work. Half a bottle. Didn’t work either, so I drank the entire bottle. And I had a very different sensation. I don’t even think I told you this, Tamara, I enter every fight very active, of course I’m afraid of getting hit or knocked out. So I’m always paying close attention.
“And for this fight for the title, I was sleepy and not even a little worried about getting hit. I didn’t feel anything. It was very strange. I had no hype in thinking I was going for the title. I was totally serene. I was so calm it scared me.
“The loss happened,” Costa finished. “But if I had lost to him being 100 percent healthy, then I would have been a lot more upset because someone would have defeated me for real. But since my loss happened under the circumstances that I mentioned earlier, I’m anxious to fight Adesanya again. But fight him the right way, being myself, and I’m sure that when that happens, things are going to be a lot difficult for him.”
Costa returns against Robert Whittaker on April 17, 2021, on ESPN.