According to UFC president Dana White, an injury to Brazilian contender Paulo Costa has scuppered the promotion’s plans to pair him with newly minted middleweight champion Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya.
Recent rumblings suggested Adesanya vs. Costa was targeted for an opening quarter 2020 matchup, but bicep surgery for the undefeated Costa has sidelined him for up to eight months. Adesanya, who stopped Robert Whittaker in the second round of UFC 243, will instead turn his attention to other names at 185-pounds, despite his ongoing back-and-forth with light heavyweight best Jon Jones.
Speaking with The Schmo recently, promotion president White, updated us on the faltering matchup. “(Paulo Costa) had surgery on his bicep. So he’s out for eight months. But we are working on something else for Israel (Adesanya) right now. He just won the title, to do a (Jon) Jones super fight right now doesn’t make sense. There’s guys in his own weight division that he can fight.”
Both Jones and Adesanya have traded verbal barbs on Twitter in recent weeks, with Adesanya predicting an eventual clash with the Jackson-Wink MMA staple in the coming calendar year, in a high profile meeting in Las Vegas. For the time being it seems, Adesanya must first defend his crown at 185-pounds. In terms of possible contenders, it seems unlikely former-foe Whittaker is afforded an immediate rematch, while three-time title chaser Yoel Romero dropped a loss to the previously mentioned Costa in a close three round affair recently.
Kelvin Gastelum and Darren Till meet this weekend at UFC 244, with Gastelum vying for a rematch with the Nigerian-Kiwi next year. A possible opponent for Adesanya is division mover Jared Cannonier. ‘The Killa Gorilla’ has grabbed three wins since his middleweight drop, capped off by a huge knockout of Jack Hermansson at UFC Fight Night Copenhagen.