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UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya was supposed to defend vs. Paulo Costa, who was coming off a close decision loss to Yoel Romero. However, Coast underwent bicep surgery, and is out until later this year. So Adesanya called out Romero, who happily obliged; the pair fight in the main event of UFC 248 on March 7.
During a recent interview with Jim Rome, UFC president Dana White was impressed.
"Adesanya's going into a fight right now that makes no sense," said White, as transcribed by Damon Martin for MMA Fighting. "He called out Yoel Romero, who he does not have to fight. First of all, nobody's asking for Yoel Romero. The exact opposite. Every guy who's fought him will tell you -- every time they hit Yoel Romero, it hurt them. This is true. This is fact. From world champions to top three guys in the world will tell you this about Romero.
"Adesanya calls him out and says 'I feel like this is one of the baddest dudes in the world and my legacy will not be complete without fighting this guy first.' He could totally wait a couple more months and fight Paulo Costa like he's supposed to. He's taking this fight."
"If he gets through [Romero] then gets through Paulo Costa, then he's got Jon Jones out there, too, which is a very interesting fun fight that probably shouldn't happen but I'll probably let it if they want to."
They want to.