There’s no love lost between Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa.
While the two have shared a competitive rivalry in the past, dating back to last July when the both emerged victorious from their respective bouts, the two young middleweights seemed destined to meet in a high-profile scrap down the rad.
However, since then, Adesanya climbed aboard a rocket ship and propelled himself up the middleweight rankings. This meteoric rise culminated with “The Last Stylebender” claiming the UFC interim middleweight title with a hard fought win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236. On the other side, Costa has yet to return to the Octagon since his win over Uriah Hall at UFC 226. While he was tied to a pair of fights against Yoel Romero, neither came to fruition. It was later revealed “Borrachinha” had been fined by New York Athletic Commission for using what he described as “stomach medication.”
But what does the hulking Brazilian think of his Nigerian counterpart’s tear through the division? Not much, as he took to his Instagram to share his thoughts.
“Really this is the interim (fake) champ?” wrote Costa. “No doubt this weight division has already been better than this s**t. Enjoy this while you can man, I really hope that you take the real belt one day to meet me. Note: And I’m not the Gastelum.”
Upon hearing this, Adesanya unearthed a barrage of heated words for Costa during an appearance on The MMA Hour.
“Fake champ? Does he have belt?. He wishes he was a fake champion as well” Adesanya laughed. “Didn’t he get popped for something recently? Like Açaí in the stomach or something? I just want to get him before USADA gets him and eventually, if he climbs up the ranks like he thinks he will, then eventually we’ll see each other. Gastelum is a tough guy and he got touched up by Uriah. Did you see his face after the Uriah fight? He got touched up.”
“But, hey, even Chris Weidman gave me props. He gave me props when it was due. So, a guy like [Costa] is salty. He’s salty because I’m the one getting the shine so they’re trying to steal my shine and I’m like ‘f*ck no.’”
Refusing to relent, Adesanya shifted his message towards the rest of his critics.
“If you ain’t got haters then you ain’t doing it right,” Adesanya said. “Before me, there was Jesus. I’m not saying I’m even close, I’m just saying no matter who you are you’re going to have haters. I just welcome it now.”