Israel Adesanya says he mentally broke Paulo Costa at UFC 253 after Costa was drunk off his own ‘hype’ kool-aid
Israel Adesanya thinks the fighter Paulo Costa was before their fight at UFC 253 is not the one that will show up on Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 41. That’s because he says he mentally “broke” the Brazilian in his win over him last year.
It has been a long time since UFC fans saw Costa (13-1) compete inside the Octagon. Injuries and a long battle with COVID-19 forced the former middleweight title challenger to the sidelines for the last 13 months. On Oct. 23, he ends his hiatus with a major matchup at the top of the UFC 185-pound division against another former title challenger in Marvin Vettori (17-4-1).
Costa, 30, has one lone blemish on his record. A championship loss to Adesanya (21-1) in his last fight. It was the first time fans saw the power-punching phenom outmatched and cleanly beaten during his nine-year run in the sport. The man that handed him his only L believes that bout in Abu Dhabi was a monumental moment in Costa’s career. Because the “Last Stylebender” claims that on “Fight Island” he mentally broke his opponent and dispelled the hype around him. A hype he believes “The Eraser” became drunk off of in the lead-up to the booking.
Israel Adesanya claims he destroyed Paulo Costa’s hype at UFC 253
The current UFC middleweight king even took a shot at Costa’s manager Wallid Ismail when explaining how his handlers enabled his “kool-aid” drinking by “blowing smoke up his a**,”.
“To be honest, I felt like I broke this guy. I feel like I broke him mentally. I feel his head is just not the same. I like to sip my own kool-aid, but I don’t get drunk off it. Unfortunately, Costa likes to get drunk off his own kool-aid,” Adesanya said in a video post on his FreeStylebender YouTube channel. “I noticed this during “Fight Island,” everyone around him was kissing his a**.
“Even some of the people who work for the [UFC] alluded to the fact that they really weren’t too happy with his management, and how things were being conducted on their side. And how difficult they were to work with because he’s Costa. [Alters his voice] ‘He needs to have this, he needs to have that.’ You know who I’m talking about. Shout out to my man Wallid [Ismail]. People just blowing smoke up his a** constantly. So he believed his own hype.
“I feel like he’s broke mentally because that air of invincibility that he had? Gone. He believed his own hype off the [Yoel] Romero fight and thought he was invincible,” Adesanya continued. “I beat him badly after he was threatening me, making skits about me, making pictures of me beheaded, saying he’s gonna kill me. Do we remember that? All the dumb stupid sh*t he did before that fight. I remember the story for that fight was take the bite out of the bully. I had to become something I hated.
“I had to become the bully myself, and I did. I feel all that air of invincibility has crumbled and now he has to build himself back up. And now it’s hard to see him regaining that confidence he had. That bravado he had where he thought, ‘No one can ever knock me out.'”
Costa vs Vettori is the main event on UFC Vegas 41 on Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas, Nev. The event kicks off with preliminary action at 1 pm ET, and the entire card will air exclusively on ESPN+.
Adesanya has not fought since his title defense victory over Vettori at UFC 263 in June. He is expected to face former champion Robert Whittaker in a rematch of their 2019 title bout sometime in the first quarter of 2022.Join the discussion on this topic...