UFC Abu Dhabi: Costa isn't tough enough, says Adesanya
For all the trash talk so far, it was a surpassingly chilled exchange of positive vibes
The UFC No. 2 ranked middleweight contender Paulo Costa is on 13-0 unbeaten run, but champion Israel Adesanya has dismissed the hype surrounding the UFC 253 main event of the Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Sunday morning's encounter on Yas Island between the two athletes is billed as the 'fight of the year' and 'the best middleweight fight ever', but Adesanya, holding a 19-0 record, felt Costa doesn't have enough gas to go the distance.
"His resume doesn't hold up enough. You look at the guys he's beaten. So, I don't think it's going to be the greatest middleweight fight in history," Adesanya said during the media day.
"I kind of already did that with Kelvin Gastelum, so I have that in my back resume. I don't want to downplay the stakes. It is an important fight. It's going be a great showcase. People say it's the 'fight of the year', like (UFC president) Dana White said. But that's only if he's tough enough to actually take a beating from me for five rounds. But I just don't think his gas tank is going to hold up!"
Ahead of the much-awaited fight, the unofficial face-off in the hotel between the two athletes has grabbed enough eyeballs.
For all the trash talk so far, it was a surpassingly chilled exchange of positive vibes. But Adesanya said Costa turned out to be a timid character.
"I sized him up, and patted him on the shoulder to feel how dense he is. I shook his hand to feel the kind of pressure he put on, from a guy who said: 'I won't shake his hand when I beat him'. He's just like one of those dogs that just barks behind the fence, but when the fence opens up he just comes around like, real timid," he said.
"I wanted to check his energy and I even said, 'You look skinny.' I expected him to take that the wrong way, but him and (Costa's manager) Wallid were giggling like little girls. So it just confirmed that I knew that they were going to submit to me."
Adesanya stressed that people shouldn't be fooled by his lean body frame compared to the muscular Costa.
"People are still fooled by muscles and big juiceheads and think, 'that's what a fighter looks like'. Especially the casuals. Once they see this skinny clown beat this muscly buffoon and they're like, 'How did he do that?' It's going to blow their minds, especially in the fashion that I'm going to do it."
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