Israel Adesanya will not fight number two contender, Paulo Costa, in his first official title defence, says UFC president Dana White.
The Kiwi-Nigerian fighter became the undisputed middleweight champion earlier this month after knocking out Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC 243.
It was a quick rise to stardom for Adesanya as he already secured a world title less than two years in his flourishing UFC career.
Adesanya made his promotional debut in February 2018, winning a second-round technical knockout against Rob Wilkinson before taking care of the next six fights.
This impressive win streak includes victories over Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson, MMA legend Anderson Silva, and Kelvin Gastelum in a strong Fight of the Year candidate.
For his next fight, Adesanya has been rumoured to face Costa, who is on a winning streak of his own.
But according to the UFC head honcho, the Brazilian contender is already out of title contention due to a recent setback.
Speaking to ‘The Schmo’ in a recent interview, White said Costa will be out of action for eight months after sustaining a bicep injury.
“He had surgery on his bicep, so he’s out for eight months,” White shared, (transcript from MMA Junkie).
With Costa out of the picture, the outspoken chief said the UFC is now working on Adesanya’s first title-defense against a different opponent.
“But we are working on something else with Israel right now.”
A move to light-heavyweight, though, is not an option for Adesanya amid talks of a potential super fight with the division’s current champion, Jon Jones.
MMA fans have been anticipating a gigantic clash between Adesanya and Jones after the pair went back-and-forth on social media and interviews in the past months.
“He just won the title,”
“To do a Jones superfight right now doesn’t make sense. There are guys in his own weight division that he could fight.”
Costa, who is coming off a huge win against Yoel Romero, has previously vowed to ‘kill’ Adesanya should they share the cage in a future fight.
“He pointed at me, you know,” Costa said after getting called out by Adesanya.
“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.”
‘Borrachinha’ also declared himself as the most dangerous guy at 185 pounds.
“I think I am the most dangerous guy in my division, the middleweight division.”
“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.”
Now that Paulo Costa is recovering from a serious injury, who do you think Israel Adesanya should fight in his first title-defense?
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya)