Paulo Costa och Israel Adesanya - Photos: Stephen R. Sylvain/Jasmin Frank USA Today Sports

Paulo Costa on facing Israel Adesanya: “I can kill him”

There's certainly no love lost between undefeated middleweight rivals Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa - The latter of which isn't holding back

This weekend in the main event at UFC 243, Israel Adesanya made it look easy. The Nigerian-born Kiwi took on reigning middleweight champ Robert Whittaker, dropping the Australian in the first round, and then finishing him in the second. It was a masterful performance, and Adesanya is undefeated – just like his long-time rival Paulo “Borrachinha” Costa. The Brazilian bruiser was in attendance all week, and when Adesanya scaled the cage, he gave Costa the traditional two-finger salute.

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When asked what was next in his octagon interview, Adesanya was clear: A bout with Costa.

“You know who’s next,” Adesanya said. “I have a heavy Ricky Martin wannabe next. ‘Borrachinha.’ This is my octagon. I’m going to smash him. I want to rearrange his face.”

Speaking with MMA Junkie afterwards, Costa made it clear that he took offence at Adesanya’s actions.

“He pointed at me, you know,” Costa said. “And I know he cannot handle it from me. He cannot handle it from me when I close the distance, and I can kill him.”

Costa then went on to add that he, amongst other things, feels that he is the most dangerous fighter in the middleweight ranks.

“I think I am the most dangerous guy in my division, the middleweight division,” Costa said. “And when I put my hands on his head, his body, he’s going to feel a lot. I feel he can die, for sure.”

“Will take his head off”

The uncharacteristically dark sentiments only continued, perhaps showing that the grudge match is all too real.

“Now, we have only one fight to do,” Costa said. “One fight to make up. It’s me against Israel. I want this fight with all my soul. I will take his head off of this cage. Man, you don’t know how much I want this fight.”

Both Adesanya and Costa are undefeated. Both have enjoyed a meteoric rise through the middleweight ranks, though Adesanya has managed to stay more active, surpass Costa and now attain UFC gold. The two seem to have been on a collision coarse since they both began breaking through in the UFC, it remains to been who stays undefeated after they finally meet.

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