Dr. Pepper or Reese’s? Adrian Yanez and Randy Costa ‘fight’ about it before UFC on ESPN 27

·5 min read

By MMA standards, Randy Costa and Adrian Yanez promoted their fight unorthodoxly – but it worked.

During a period of time in which trash talk is under the microscope and a major topic of conversation in MMA, Costa (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Yanez (13-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC), too, are in the midst of a “heated rivalry.”

Well, not exactly.

The bone-to-pick between the two bantamweight up-and-comers doesn’t stem from personal attacks, insults hurled at loved ones, or digs at abilities inside the cage. No. Instead, Costa and Yanez zoned in on something near and dear to their identities – junk food.

Massachusetts’ Costa has had a very long and public relationship with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. At his first UFC media appearance in 2019, for instance, Costa ranked all of the Reese’s products with detailed explanations.

“I just f-cking love Reese’s, bro,” Costa told MMA Junkie, in a joint interview in which the two fighters met face-to-face for the first time. “I just love them, love them, love them.”

As for Houston’s Yanez, Dr. Pepper is his drink of choice. It was a staple of his childhood and something he doesn’t plan on outgrowing.

“I remember just tasting it and falling in love with it,” Yanez told MMA Junkie. “My dad loved Pepsi, so we would go back and forth with each other going like, ‘Nah, I think this is better. Nah, I think this is better.’ It’s grown on me, and I love it. It’s a vice for me, now. Every single time I have the chance to drink a Dr. Pepper, I’ll drink it.”

In early 2021, their cheat food passions turned into an online debate, shortly after Costa pitched the idea that he be Yanez’s next opponent. The back-and-forth bickering became the perfect mechanism for them to gather a cult-like following online.

“Adrian was never one of the guys where I said, ‘I want to fight that guy because he’s a d-ckhead,” Costa said. “Someone said, ‘Randy vs. Adrian would be fun.’ Three or four people said that and then somebody tweeted, ‘He must be scared.’ I’m like, ‘Yo, I’m not f-cking scared. I’m just not going to talk sh-t. If we’re going to talk sh-t about something, f-cking Dr. Pepper sucks.'”

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It only took a few exchanges for the retweets and likes to roll in. Fans created all sorts of artwork and repeatedly tagged the UFC in tweets calling for the matchup. Both fighters were blown away by the reaction, which they point to as the main stepping stone to making their pitches a reality.

“It’s been a big blessing, just because it’s the shine that we both deserve, if we’re being quite honest with you,” Yanez said. “We’re both talented. We’re both really, really hard-focused, hard-working fighters. It’s honestly one of these things that’s a big blessing. Some other people get the spotlight whenever they don’t deserve it. We’ve been putting on stellar performances in our past couple fights. I’m just glad MMA Twitter took a hold of us and was like, ‘Hey, we’re going to boost these people up,’ because, man, they put in the work.”

On the surface level of their “rivalry,” there’s friendly bickering and fun rap-battle-esque insults. But at its core, it’s all about respect for the two fighters, who feel privileged to be able to share the cage with one another this Saturday.

“It’s just such an exciting fight and I’m glad that it got promoted with nothing but positivity,” Costa said. “I think that with this fight, Adrian and I are only helping each other’s stocks. Neither of us are degrading. Neither of us are insulting. Neither of us are talking any sh*t about the fights or about the records. It’s nothing. This fight is built up on something that’s so f*cking ridiculous that it’s not even f*cking funny. It’s soda and f*cking candy and you’re telling me that we talked ourselves into a f*cking main card fight because we’re just being stupid on Twitter? Dude, that’s so f*cking cool and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

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Yanez echoed Costa’s sentiments and indicated two “Fight of the Night” bonuses could be obtained between the two of them.

“It’s always the respectful (guys),” Yanez said. “It’s never been the guys who hate each other the most who make the most exciting fights because that’s actually made some of the most boring fights out there. It’s the guys who actually respect each other and know this skillset and know hard the other person has trained. That always makes for the best fights.”

You’ve surely heard of “breaking bread,” but what about “breaking junk food?” After the fight and the “snackweight” champion is crowned, both fighters agreed it’s quite possible that peanut butter, chocolate, and sugary soda are all present at a joint afterparty.

“Bring some high-quality sh-t, man, that’s all I’m asking,” Yanez laughed. “Bring some high-quality stuff. I’ll bring my Dr. Pepper Cherry. I’ll let you have some. You kind of messed it up for me a little bit. I’m still a little bit irked but, I might let you have a cup or two.”

Check out the full conversation between Randy Costa and Adrian Yanez, hosted by MMA Junkie’s Nolan King, in the video above.