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Paulo Costa will be cageside at UFC 248 ‘to see if Israel Adesanya can beat Yoel Romero like I did’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Paulo Costa will start a training camp this month with the expectation of meeting the winner of UFC 248’s main event. And for a little extra fuel, he plans to be in Las Vegas when champ Israel Adesanya faces Yoel Romero.

“I’ll be there to see if Adesanya can beat Romero like I did,” Costa told MMA Fighting. “Everybody wants to see that, if he can beat Romero or not. I believe Adesanya himself feels he has to prove he can beat Romero, too, so I’ll be there watching.”

Before a bicep surgery sent him to the sidelines, Costa was supposed to be in Romero’s position. A grueling win at UFC 241 over the Cuban-born standout made him the No. 1 contender, and a cageside confrontation with Adesanya at UFC 243, where “Stylebender” captured the title from Robert Whittaker, put them on a collision course.

Adesanya and Costa repeatedly have taken shots at each other since, with the champ calling his rival a “juice monkey” and Costa chastising Adesanya for invoking 9/11 in a pre-fight jab at Romero.

Words have been Costa’s main weapon with his bicep a persistent roadblock. He originally targeted a return to the octagon this past December, but was forced to push back his timetable to April 2020.

Costa’s manager, Wallid Ismail, said his client was recently cleared to train and was in Los Angeles to ramp up his preparation. Costa added he’s back to full speed in the gym.

Count on him to let Adesanya know that when they face off in Las Vegas.

“I’ll be able to train everything,” Costa said. “I’ll be there, front row, at UFC 248. Let’s see who’s next.”