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Israel Adesanya advises Paulo Costa to ‘let it go’ if he ever wants a rematch

Israel Adesanya says Paulo Costa has a choice to make if he ever wants to rematch for the UFC middleweight title.

Following the UFC middleweight champion’s second-round TKO of Costa (13-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) in a highly anticipated and heated grudge match at UFC 253 in September, “Borrachinha” has made his desire for a rematch very clear, hinting that he was held back by an undisclosed issue in the lopsided loss.

Moreover, Costa is furious with Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) for his post-fight antics, which included a controversial dry-humping motion after the stoppage, an argument with the challenger’s corner and a whole lot of social media daggers.

Adesanya said he doesn’t rule out fighting Costa again in the future, but explained there’s only one way the Brazilian can get there. The champ told Costa to look at Marvin Vettori, who he beat by split decision at UFC on FOX 29 in April 2018, and Kelvin Gastelum, who Adesanya edged in an all-time classic at UFC 236 in April 2019, and pick which path he wants to follow.

“Let it go,” Adesanya told MMA Junkie. “I’ll give you a classic example :There’s two teammates that I fought. Two teammates is the Italian (Vettori), and then there’s Kelvin Gastelum. The Italian, he ran up on me in Vegas one time smiling and he was like, ‘What’s up? What are you doing here?’ And I said, ‘I’m here for my boy (Alexander) Volkanovski’s fight.’ Then I had to tell him just shush, ‘When I told you guys I would come train with you (after our fight), it wasn’t about you or because I lost. I was just saying that to your coach because he’s a legendary coach.’ All I said was, ‘If I’m ever in the area, I’ll pop in.’ He holds onto that because that’s he way of believing that, ‘Yes, he admitted that I beat him and he wants to train with us,’ like some Eric Kaufmann (expletive). But he holds onto that because he knows, he knows deep down he’ll never see me again. He knows deep down he’ll never get a title shot. So that’s why he holds onto that as his own claim to victory when I smoked his ass in that fight. You might give him the third round, but I beat his ass easily in that fight, but he holds onto that.

While Adesanya believes Vettori clings to the close call in their fight, he notes Gastelum has learned from their classic bout and can see he is going out of his way to improve from the experience.

“Now, on the flip side, his teammate Kelvin Gastelum, who was ‘this close’ to winning in our famous UFC 236 title bout in Atlanta, was ‘this close.’ Then I dusted him and I widened the gap. All he does is give me respect. You know why? Because he believes he’s going to get there. He believes he’s going to get there again. That’s the tale of two teammates, one who holds on to his loss to me, because he knows for a fact he’ll never, ever see me again. And one who just hushes in silence in steady works. Kelvin Gastelum. Because he knows he’ll see me again. That’s the two different approaches.”

In the wake of his loss to Adesanya at UFC 253, Costa has been called out for a matchup with Derek Brunson. Costa, though, requested a rematch with Adesanya, telling the champion to “sign the contract,” but Adesanya said he’s been offered nothing.

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