UFC: Israel Adesanya And Paulo Costa Discuss Their Recent Encounter

When Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa bumped into each other at the fighters’ hotel on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, the outcome wasn’t what we expected. After years of bad blood, going back and forth in interviews and on social media, the last thing we expected was a handshake and a show of respect. However, that’s what we got.

Speaking at the UFC 253 virtual media day (as transcribed by The Mac Life), both undefeated middleweights gave their versions of the encounter. Adesanya put his show of respect down to the fact that he wanted to get a feel for Costa’s energy ahead of the weekend.

“I went over there to kind of check his energy,” Adesanya said. “I went there, sized him up, patted him on the shoulder to feel how dense he is. I shook his hand because I wanted to feel the kind of pressure he put on, from a guy who said ‘I won’t shake his hand when I beat him.’ He’s just like one of those dogs that just barks behind the fence, but when the fence opens up he just comes around like, real timid.

“So I went to check his energy and I even said, ‘You look skinny.’ I expected him to take that the wrong way, but he and [his manager Wallid Ismail] were giggling like little girls, so I already knew what I already knew. It just confirmed that I knew that they were gonna submit to me, so yeah, he didn’t check out when I checked him.”

For Costa, he said was surprised to see the respectful side of Adesanya, having expected more animosity between the two.

“He changes a lot his personality, his persona,” Costa said. “The Adesanya that I saw on the video conference was very disrespectful guy. He show his fingers a lot to me. When I met him upstairs he was very kind, very gentle. When I saw him I was ready for a different kind of guy. He came and he gave his hand to shake his hand and asked how I’m feeling.”

Israel Adesanya defends his UFC middleweight title against Paulo Costa in the UFC 253 main event this weekend on Fight Island, on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Who do you think will leave the Octagon the champion?

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