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Israel Adesanya breaks down UFC 253 masterpiece against ‘dumb’ Paulo Costa

ABU DHABI – Israel Adesanya backed up his talk exactly as predicted against Paulo Costa on Saturday at UFC 253.

Adesanya (20-0 MMA, 9-0 UFC) said over and over in the weeks and months leading up to his second-round TKO of Costa (13-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) in the pay-per-view headliner at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi that he would be too slick and accurate for his challenger. That proved true, as he delivered a near-flawless performance.

Although there was a narrative coming into the fight that Costa may have made a mental impact on the champion, Adesanya said he didn’t buy it. The champ said he sensed everything that was coming, from the first time he encountered Costa on fight week until they stepped in the octagon.

“I’m 10 steps ahead,” Adesanya told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at UFC 253. “I told you guys I’m 10 steps ahead. You think these are just words, but I’m 10 steps ahead. … I told you guys in the pre-fight I’m not a human punching bag. He’s only fought human punching bags, guys who will just stand there and cover up. They just let him tee off on them. I knew, because he was cutting me off. Bro, we are the best, City Kickboxing.”

Adesanya said he wasn’t surprised by the lack of competitiveness in the matchup with Costa. The Brazilian implemented some unusual tactics in the contest, taunting Adesanya while eating some big shots along the way until eventually succumbing to the damage.

The champion said “he ain’t no hype job” after the bout, and he wouldn’t be suckered into Costa’s strategy in the 100th professional victory of his combat sports career.

“They just want me to stand there so I can get punched,” Adesanya said. “I’m not stupid, dummy. I told you, he’s dumb. I’m smart. This is my 100th win in combat sports all around. One fight, two fights, three fights, four fights, five fights, six fights – all the way to a (expletive) hundred. I’m not a (expletive) baby for this game. I’ve been in this (expletive) for a long time and I’m still fresh.”

As far as what’s next, Adesanya said there are options galore. He’s not ready to move divisions or chase potential superfights just yet, because he wants to build his 185-pound legacy to surpass that of the division’s greatest champion, Anderson Silva.

That means stacking up more title defenses, and Adesanya said he’s looking at the winner of the UFC 254 matchup on Oct. 24 between Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier as his next foe.

“I think Jared’s going to dust Robert Whittaker and I look forward to fighting him,” Adesanya said. “I think he’s going to get it done. I’m rooting for him. But if Robert Whittaker wins and he wants to get knocked out a third time, I can make that happen, too.”

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