Were We Close To Getting Israel Adesanya Vs. Paulo Costa?
A potential clash between UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa has had a pretty tame story over the past few months. The past few weeks, however, have turned things up a notch.
It was recently reported that Adesanya and Costa would be the coaches on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. On Submission Radio, Eugene Bareman, Israel Adesanya’s head coach, stated that there was no documentation given to him regarding that news. As of that conversation, a fight was not planned.
“Nothing has come over my desk in regards to Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya, fighting, nothing about that, and I’ve also had nothing in regard to The Ultimate Fighter,” Bareman said, via MMA Fighting.”For The Ultimate Fighter to happen, a lot more would have to be done… These guys got to scrap for every dollar they can so that’s what I base my decision on, if it comes down to it. But it’s not a discussion point at the moment because it needs to come over my desk and nothing has come over my desk in regard to that.”
The two were supposed to fight one another after Adesnya beat Robert Whittaker to win the UFC Middleweight TItle. Costa, however, got injured, and a new contender needed to be found. Adesanya ended up facing Yoel Romero at UFC 248, beating him via unanimous decision. If a match wasn’t happening during the latest TUF season, when would it take place?
It appears that Bareman wasn’t entirely telling the truth. Wallid Ismail, Costa’s manager, stated that there were plans in place for both to fight on “Fight Island” on July 11 and that a contract was given to him to look at.
“His coach lied,” Ismail told MMA Fighting. “He has to understand that when he says something in Australia we can see it right away in Brazil through the internet. He can’t lie. There was an offer for July 11, and then they said August, and now they are talking September or October.”
Costa (13-0) debuted in the UFC in 2017. Ranked second in the UFC’s middleweight rankings, Costa beat Romero via unanimous decision at UFC 241. Before that, he was suspended six months by USADA, as well as his doctor, for using prohibited IVs.
A former kickboxing tournament winner with GLORY and King in the Ring, Adesanya joined the UFC in 2018. He beat Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum, the latter to win the interim middleweight title, which brought him to Whittaker. He beat him via knockout in round two before competing in a stalemate against Romero in March.
Costa’s team is waiting for Adesnaya’s team to answer back. They are hoping something can be done soon, especially after the callout.
“Don’t run away from this fight please,” Ismail went on to say. “His coach is trying to act like a manager now and that’s how careers end. We’re hoping to have a date some time this year, and I just hope they stop crying. Adesanya is crying. He can’t say anything online until he actually signs the deal. If you’re offered a fight and don’t take it, you can’t say anything.”