Israel Adesanya definitely has a favorite between  Paulo Costa and Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294

UFC champ Israel Adesanya has got enough mental space to look ahead at a UFC 294 clash between ranked middleweights.

By: Nate Wilcox | 3 weeks ago

Israel Adesanya ought to have his hands full with this Saturday’s UFC 293 middleweight title defense against fifth-ranked Sean Strickland at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena in Australia. But apparently he’s got enough mental space to look ahead at a UFC 294 clash between ranked middleweights.

Israel Adesanya wants ‘new blood’ in the UFC MW title hunt

The champ is a massive -650 favorite over Strickland so maybe he can afford to look a little bit down the road. And October’s UFC 294 is a natural place to be looking for future challengers, provided he gets past Strickland of course, since #5 ranked Middleweight Paulo Costa will be welcoming the fourth-ranked welterweight Khamzat Chimaev to the division.

“I don’t know who’s going to win but I think if I’m favoring, I might be favoring Khamzat a little bit more,” Adesanya told MMA Fighting. “Because I like new blood.”

Adesanya humbled Costa at UFC 253 in 2020, finishing him via TKO in the second round.

“I just made Paulo look easy but trust me, he’s a hard fight,” Adesanya said. “He’s a hard fight but I made him look easy. But I think I’m rooting for Khamzat more in that fight.”

Costa has only gone 1-1 since that time, dropping a decision to Marvin Vettori in a short-lived move up to 205 pounds and decisioning the since-retired Luke Rockhold in his return to middleweight.

Chimaev weighed his way out of welterweight

Big things have been expected from the Chechen since coming to the UFC. Unfortunately, Chimaev has struggled to make the 170 pound welterweight limit throughout his career. He’s missed the limit three times in his twelve-fight career, most recently at UFC 279 against Kevin Holland.

That most recent miss has necessitated his move up to the 185 pound class where Costa will be waiting to welcome him. The odds makers like Chimaev as well, consistently favoring him over Costa.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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