We are a few months removed from UFC 253. That night, the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0), took on the previously unbeaten challenger, Paulo Costa (13-1). The fight was one of the more anticipated matchups of 2020.
However, the fight failed to live up to the hype mainly due to the challenger. While Adesanya was brilliant in scoring the knockout win at UFC 253, Costa fought extremely flat. He didn’t land anything significant before Adesanya landed the finishing blows.
It was such an odd performance from Paulo Costa. Prior to that loss, Costa was always known as someone who pushes forward with a ridiculous pace. However, at UFC 253, Costa was stuck on the outside and he didn’t push forward at all.
This left a lot of fans scratching their heads. Costa is currently prepping for his next matchup against Robert Whittaker. Their fight takes place in April and the winner is likely going to get another crack at the UFC middleweight champion.
Costa has broken his silence about his last performance. Over the weekend, Costa took to his YouTube page to talk about the loss. In all honesty, I was a little surprised to hear what he had to say and what he attributes the loss to.
UFC 253 sabotaged by a hangover?
On the UFC 253 loss, Costa said, “I was kind of drunk when I fought, maybe hungover. I couldn’t sleep because of leg cramps. The UFC told us to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to the arena to fight. I hadn’t slept until 2:30.”
“It was my mistake and I don’t blame anyone else, it was something I chose [to do], but, in order to try to sleep, because I had to sleep since I was awake for 24 hours, I had wine, too much wine, a bottle to try to black out. I had a glass and didn’t work. Two glasses, it didn’t work. Half bottle, didn’t work. I had it all.”
Clearly, it doesn’t sound like the condition were ideal for Costa. However, it’s not like his experience on Fight Island was unique. All of the fighters had to go through the same issues when they were fighting in Abu Dhabi.
Now, maybe there were more factors at play here. Perhaps the nerves of the moment caused Costa to be anxious which prevented him from sleeping. There are a number of question marks, but it was clear that we didn’t see the usual Costa back in September.
When he steps into the cage next, he needs to prove to the UFC and himself that the last fight was a fluke. Costa must show the world that he’s still the Paulo Costa we thought he was if he wants any chance at a rematch with Israel Adesanya.