A bicep injury will keep No. 1 contender for the UFC middleweight crown Paulo Costa out until at least April, and apparently current champion Israel Adesanya isn’t willing to wait that long to defend his belt.
Following an impressive year that saw Adesanya knock off Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastellum and Robert Whittaker, the champ isn’t shying away from any challengers, no matter what their current record looks like.
“I want to defend my title again in February or March,” Adesanya said, per MMA Fighting. “Because homeboy [Paulo Costa], the guy I called out next, he’s been put out for a while. He can’t fight for eight months so I want to try and get whoever I can, probably [Yoel] Romero is who I’m asking for, either February or March.”
Having dispatched Whittaker and with Costa unable to compete, that leaves No. 3-ranked Romero in Adesnaya’s path. That fight may be a tough one to sell to UFC president Dana White, with Romero losing three of his last four fights in addition to having a history of missing weight.
The UFC could very well wait the additional month or two to allow Costa to heal and return to the Octagon for his scheduled showdown with Adesanya. That makes the most business sense considering the polarizing Costa’s recent decision victory over Romero.