In just on year competing inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon, Israel Adesanya has managed to step into the spotlight and stay there, winning six straight fights in that span including capturing the interim Middleweight strap.
He’s also caught the attention of fighters outside of his division, as he is currently embroiled in a bitter social media war with Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. But he still has plenty of 185 pounders who are eager to test themselves against “The Last Stylebender.”
Among them is Paulo Costa, who hasn’t had many nice things to say about Israel in the past, and vise versa. After Adesanya won the title with a memorable win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 (see it), Costa took to social media to label Israel a “fake champ.”
Naturally, Adesanya didn’t take too kindly to the words, as he took the chance to respond to “Borrachinha” on a recent edition of The MMA Hour by once again putting Paulo’s name in the same sentence as United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA).
“Hold up, fake champ? Does he have a belt? He wishes he was the ‘fake’ champ as well. First of all, didn’t he get popped for something recently for some acai in his stomach or something?” asked Israel regarding Costa’s issues with New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) regarding a stomach medication that resulted in the cancellation of his fight against Yoel Romero at UFC on ESPN 3.
“I just wanna get him before USADA gets him. And eventually if he climbs up the ranks like he thinks he will, eventually we’ll see each other so he can find out. Gastelum’s a tough guy. He [Costa] got touched up after the Uriah [Hall] fight. … A guy like that’s just salty. He’s just salty cause I’m the one getting the shine. They’re trying to steal my shine and I’m like, ‘f*ck no.’”
Costa is adamant he has no issues with USADA despite “Soldier of God’s” claims.
Paulo is determined to return to action in a few months, but would need at least one more impressive win before he can get into the title picture. As for Adesanya, he is in line for a title unification fight against Middleweight king, Robert Whittaker, later this year.
That means if Israel and Paulo want the chance to mix it up, it likely won’t happen until 2020. Though something tells me this rivalry won’t be dead by then.