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Costa (11-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) was the one who shot first there, calling Brunson out immediately after his knockout win over ex-champ Johny Hendricks (18-8 MMA, 13-8 UFC) at Saturday’s UFC 217. But Brunson (18-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC), himself fresh off over a knockout win over an ex-UFC-champion, mercilessly shot it down.
By the time Costa made his way backstage to talk to media at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, he hadn’t yet seen Brunson’s tweet, which means the cameras were able to catch his real-time reaction to Brunson’s confidence he was on steroids.
“He’s crazy,” Costa said after a hearty laugh. “He’s scared. He doesn’t want a fight against me. USADA tests everybody all the time. So Derek Brunson doesn’t want a fight against me, but I’m ready. It’s like Vitor Belfort, he doesn’t want a fight against me. (Or) Tim Boetsch.”
Costa was accompanied by his manager, “vale-tudo” pioneer Wallid Ismail, who chimed in and added that Brunson was simply making excuses not to meet the Brazilian up-and-comer. Ismail, who repeatedly intervened, went on to say that Costa had been tested by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency three times in one month.
“Please, Derek Brunson, don’t be scared,” Costa said.
As for his reasons for eyeing a matchup with fellow knockout artist Brunson, Costa was to-the-point: After what has so far been the peak moment of his undefeated career, he wants someone in the top-5 or top-10 of the UFC’s official rankings. Which means that Brunson, who happens to occupy the 6th position, would fit just fine.
It would appear Brunson is not too interested.
Whomever he ends up meeting next, though, Costa wants to give it three of four months before returning. Some time off doesn’t sound entirely unreasonable considering Costa has fought another two times since his UFC debut back in March – all of which, like the remaining fights on his professional record, ended in knockouts.
Costa has been able to accomplish quite a lot considering such a short UFC stint. Saturday’s meeting with ex-champ Hendricks, it turns out, was already Costa’s second pay-per-view main card bout. He’s since sharpened up his language skills, adapted his nickname to better suit the U.S. market and has shown no problem with promoting himself.
Moving forward, the 26-year-old Brazilian has some lofty goals to accomplish. Whether he’ll get to fulfill his own prophecy, only time will tell. But there’s no denying that he’s so far been delivering.
“I’m the next generation from Brazil,” Costa said. “And I have no questions: I will be the next legend from Brazil.”
To hear more from Costa and Ismail, check out the video above.
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