MELBOURNE, Australia — Paulo Costa is likely the next man in line for the UFC’s middleweight title, but if he had a choice in the matter, he would prefer to face rival Israel Adesanya for the belt.
Adesanya and Costa have been embroiled in a bitter war or words over the last number of months and although the Brazilian believes champion Robert Whittaker will come away with a win in the UFC 243 main event, he is adamant that he wants to break the interim champion’s face in the future.
“I really want to break the face of [Israel] Adesanya, but I think Robert will win,” said Costa. “I can fight with Robert also. He did a great two wars with Yoel Romero, for a lot of people he lost and I proved that I’m a tough guy and I can beat everyone here in this division.”
Asked what matchup would appeal to fans more, Costa pointed to Adesanya’s promotional prowess as the main reason a bout him instead of Whittaker would generate more interest.
“I think against Adesanya, I think he promotes more the fight, but I respect Whittaker—he’s a great champ.”
Costa also admitted that Adesanya’s taunts about his alleged PED use has made their rift “personal”.
“This also is fuel for me. It makes me more angry. It’s personal with him, I cannot hide this,” he said.