MMA fans all around the world are excited to see UFC Middleweight king, Israel Adesanya face off against genetic monster, Paulo Costa at UFC 253 on September 26. However, many do not know the story of how the duo first crossed paths.
Telling his own story on Submission Radio, Adesanya spoke about his first interaction with Costa in the aftermath of UFC 226. ‘Style Bender’ had just won his fight against Brad Tavares, being the main event of the TUF 27 Finale. The following night, Costa went on to brutally knock out Uriah Hall. Backstage of the event, Adesanya claims Costa was scared of him and how he almost ended up in an altercation with ‘Borrachinha’.
“I was doing an interview with Brett [Okamato] and he came to do his interview with Brett, but he was like six feet away from me, and I’m looking at him the whole time talking to Brett,” Adesanya said.
“He wouldn’t look me in the eye. He just was looking at the wall, finding any reason to avoid, knowing who the f*ck I am, knowing I just whooped ass that night before him.”
Adesanya continues to break down his very first encounter with Costa and gives his side of the story.
“Even when I was talking sh*t about him, he would just look at the wall and just ignore me. He likes to act tough when there’s people there and there’s cameras there, but if me and him run into an elevator, I guarantee you he’ll face the other way or he wouldn’t say anything in the elevator. Like, it’s just cause there’s people around and there’s cameras and he wants the hoopla.”
It’s safe to say that the New Zealander wished Costa would “keep the same energy”, as this alleged encounter reflected the interactions of Colby Covington and fellow African, Kamaru Usman as Usman took at Covington, as he had nothing to say when the cameras weren’t rolling.
The silver lining of then-rising stars, Costa & Adesanya competing on back-to-back nights in Las Vegas led to their first encounter. The continued silver lining will see the two fighting for the 185 crown on September 26th in the main event of UFC 253, in of the most highly anticipated fights of the year.