Israel Adesanya barely had time to celebrate his second-round knockout over Robert Whittaker before he was on to the next person in line.
The new undisputed middleweight champion wasted no time addressing undefeated Brazilian Paulo Costa, who almost assuredly earned a title shot with his victory over Yoel Romero back in August.
While many fighters prefer to relish the moment rather than focus on what comes next, Adesanya promised was still soaking in the victory – and building toward a future fight against Costa.
“I enjoyed it myself,” Adesanya said at the UFC 243 post fight press conference. “I definitely enjoyed [the moment], but it sells the next fight a little bit. At the same time, he’s a bitch and he’s my bitch, and I want to make him my bitch. So that’s why I did what I did.”
Adesanya and Costa have exchanged words numerous times as both fighters rose up the ranks of the middleweight division. Costa was sitting cage side for the UFC 243 main event, and as soon as Adesanya’s hand was raised, he was standing up looking to catch the champ’s attention.
“Right now, nothing set in stone,” Adesanya said about facing Costa next. “I’m just feeling it, but I like that fight. Cause the casuals, they’re dumb. They see a beefed up beefcake like that and think, ‘Awww, that’s the guy.’ I’m still all hype by the way. I’m still all hype. I’m just a hype train. They’ll see that and think ‘that’s the guy.’
“They just want to see me lose, but they’re going to be waiting for a long time.”
Adesanya’s personal opinion of Costa is obviously rather low, but it’s impossible to disregard what the hulking middleweight contender has done in his first five UFC fights.
Costa has gone undefeated with a perfect 5-0 record, including four knockouts, and with his win against Romero, he cemented himself as the top contender in the division.
Still, the new champion has seen all he needs to see out of Costa to know he’s going to walk in with the belt around his waist when they meet – and leave the exact same way.
“It’s basic, but that’s not a bad thing,” Adesanya said about Costa’s style. “Basic is what my s—t is built on, my foundation, I just know how to work off my basics. He doesn’t. Everyone he fights is a punching bag that’s just waiting there to get hit.
“I can’t wait. I can’t wait till I fight him. I’m not impressed, to be honest.”
When asked if Costa was a tougher challenge than Whittaker, Adesanya emphatically answered back ‘f—k no,’ but he definitely seems to believe that will be his next opponent.
As far as timing goes, Adesanya walked away from the fight with Whittaker relatively unscathed, which means he could probably compete again sooner rather than later.
That said, Adesanya has fought seven times in 20 months since joining the UFC roster, so he might be due for a little vacation following this latest triumph.
“I’m fresh,” Adesanya said. “We can go any time, but not in the near future until I talk to my coaches.”