Israel Adesanya was offered a fight with Paulo Costa as early as UFC 251 this weekend — only for him to turn it down according to manager Wallid Ismail.
Adesanya has been expected to defend his middleweight title against Costa for months but there is yet to be any movement on that front.
There was recent talk of them coaching on the return of The Ultimate Fighter leading up a title fight before it was denied by Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman, who claimed nothing regarding Adesanya and Costa fighting at all was presented his way.
Ismail: Costa Fight Was Offered For UFC 251
But according to Costa’s manager Ismail, that is a lie.
“His coach lied,” Ismail told MMA Fighting. “He has to understand that when he says something in Australia we can see it right away in Brazil through the internet. He can’t lie. There was an offer for July 11, and then they said August, and now they are talking September or October.”
Costa would confirm the same in a recent Instagram post.
As for The Ultimate Fighter, Costa’s team was campaigning to coach on “TUF” and according to Ismail, Dana White loved the idea as well.
While there is no update on that front, Ismail believes having Costa and Adesanya on the returning edition before facing each other for the title will only lead to ratings.
“It would be huge,” Ismail said. “Everybody loves watching two guys that hate each other. When was the last time you saw two undefeated guys fighting for the belt? It’s going to be incredible.”
When it comes down to a potential fight between Adesanya and Costa, there are also complications as the latter trains in Brazil and won’t be able to compete in the United States at least when the UFC returns there in August amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For now, Ismail can only hope “The Last Stylebender” accepts a fight sooner rather than later.
“Don’t run away from this fight please,” Ismail added. “His coach is trying to act like a manager now and that’s how careers end. We’re hoping to have a date some time this year, and I just hope they stop crying. Adesanya is crying. He can’t say anything online until he actually signs the deal. If you’re offered a fight and don’t take it, you can’t say anything.”
Do you think we’ll see the fight this year?