“When I was training here in Brazil before I was part of the UFC, in my eighth fight, I realized I had all the skills that a champion needed to have,” he said. “This was four years ago. And I realized also I was young and I was very, very strong, so all this stuff made me know I could be a world champion with some more fights. I came to the UFC, I felt all this energy, saw all the people, all the crowd, and I made sure that this was my place. I was born to do this. That’s why I put a hundred percent of my energy into this sport and this career.”

Heading into the biggest fight of his career, Costa is 5-0 with the decision over Romero and knockouts over Garreth McLellan, Oluwale Bamgbose, Johny Hendricks and Uriah Hall. He’s got the power, the style, the skill, the look and the charisma to achieve everything he wants to. He’s even convinced his mother that this is a career now, and one that could prove to be a big one.

“My mom doesn’t like the wars, she doesn’t like the fights, she doesn’t like to watch,” Costa said. “But now she’s a little bit different. She’s changed a little bit. (Laughs) She enjoys it a little more. She’s seen all this stuff happen and she’s following this fight with me and Adesanya and now she’s a little bit angry and she tells me to beat him.”

Costa laughs, and I ask him if mom is going to get to keep the belt at her house if he wins it this weekend. That’s a nice thought, but Costa has different plans that include his family as well as everyone else who has been in his corner during this journey to Fight Island.

“She’s a big part of this project and I’m thankful to her for all her support when I was a kid,” he said. “She helped me a lot but I think I will give the belt to everybody who has been part of this. Not just my mother, but a lot of people – my coach, my training partners, my friends. All these people have been a big part of this.”

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