Paulo Costa has demanded a rematch with Israel Adesanya, saying their rivalry is “mortal now” following the middleweight champion’s behaviour after his win at UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The unbeaten Adesanya, 31, cruised to a second-round TKO at Flash Forum in the opening event on Fight Island, inflicting the first defeat of Costa's professional career. The clash, tipped by UFC president Dana White to be fight of the year, lasted less than nine minutes, in which time Adesanya landed almost five times as many significant strikes as his opponent.
However, Costa has been riled by the Nigerian-born New Zealander’s antics immediately after, when he was considered to have disrespected both the Brazilian and his corner. The champion, who now sits at 20-0 in pro mixed martial arts, has since continued to taunt Costa on social media.
On Monday, Costa (13-1) took to social media himself, and bit back at what he perceived to be Adesanya’s lack of respect.
“I come here to talk about that action that human trash did ... after a fight,” Costa said via video on Instagram. “I didn’t see when I was there on the cage, but I saw now. And I disapprove 100 per cent.
“To me, this is mortal now. Nobody will stop me. Nobody can stop me. I want my rematch. And you know I am waiting for you. Something happened before the fight, I’m not [using] excuse[s] here to my people, my fans, but I will be 100 per cent to fight him, and to make him pay. That’s my words.”
In an earlier post, Costa referred to an incident pre-fight that he says affected his performance, a display that White described as "weird". Costa, whose UFC career thus far has been full of highlight-reel knockouts, did not engage with Adesanya in the octagon as had been expected.
“Thank you all the haters too for the messages,” Costa said. “To my friends, and also those who aren’t – but especially my friends and those who cheer for me – don’t worry, I’m fine.
“I already know what happened, I know what was done wrong, and it won’t happen next time. I won’t keep waiting. Some things happen, I had some problems but I won’t give any excuses, OK? The fight is over, he won, but I guarantee you that the next one will be different. Next time I meet him, if he continues the champion, it will be different.”