Marvin Vettori previews Paulo Costa bout, reflects on loss to Israel Adesanya

Marvin Vettori admits middleweight champion Israel Adesanya played cat-and-mouse with him and says he still doesn't agree with the judges' decision in their title matchup in June. "The Italian Dream" tells Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole he doesn't plan to let his UFC Vegas 41 bout versus Paulo Costa go to a decision.

Video Transcript

KEVIN IOLE: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Yahoo Sports. I am Kevin Iole. My guest is one of the top middleweights in the world. On Saturday at Apex, a really good fight. You're not going to want to miss this one. Marvin Vettori will be fighting Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC Vegas 41. My guest now is the-- "The Italian Dream," Marvin Vettori. Marvin, how are you, my friend?

MARVIN VETTORI: I'm very good, man. Ready for battle.

KEVIN IOLE: I guess I should say my paisan, right? So-- so as you go into this fight with Costa, both of you, your last loss or last fight was a loss to the middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Do you think that that puts more significance on this fight because you both have fought him in your last outing? And does that make this one more of a must-win for both of you?

MARVIN VETTORI: No, not really. I mean, no. I mean, both fights speaks for themselves. I mean, it just-- it's just a very important fight for the division. But that does not-- does-- doesn't have nothing to do with-- with Adesanya, you know.

KEVIN IOLE: Do you-- do you feel like, you know, he is a guy that can be broken, based on what you saw of him last time? It seemed like mentally, you know, he-- he lost it going into that last fight, you know, his last fight. And I wonder if you feel like-- I know you're really tough mentally. Do you feel like that's an advantage that you have?

MARVIN VETTORI: Yeah, I mean, that-- like you said, I think that's an advantage on my side on every fighter. Yeah, I mean, it-- it really was shocking. I mean, because in the beginning, I thought that he was joking when he said that he drank a bottle of wine. Then-- then it comes out it seems like-- like it was actually true.


MARVIN VETTORI: And like, how the hell would you even ever think to do something like that, you know?


MARVIN VETTORI: That-- that definitely shows some kind of weakness and some lack of knowledge of, you know, what goes on in-- in your own brain and mind. But you know, at the end of the day, I-- I expect the best. He got a lot to prove like-- like we all have, you know, every-- every fight. But you know, especially coming off this one.

And so I expect the best version of him. And you know, I-- I expect him coming out hard. And you know, I expect nothing but-- but-- but the best version of himself. But I'm ready. And when I'm ready, there is not much that, you know, whoever can do.

KEVIN IOLE: You know, the-- the-- this sport is kind of a rollercoaster. And it seems like, you know, if-- if you win and you look good, then, you know, you're even perceived to be better than you are. And if you lose, then you're perceived to be worse than you are, right? How do you maintain that-- that steady attitude when-- when there's all these ups and downs in the fight and in the business? Is it hard to maintain that?

MARVIN VETTORI: You know, you need to know that medias are going to be medias. And the fighter has to be the fighter. The fighter is the one that's going to go in the cage. And he's going to fight the fight. And the media are going to do the media.

And you know, at the end of the day, it's about how much power do you want to give the media to control your own self and to control your own emotions, you know. So I mean, do they piss me off when I read some kind of things? Definitely, yes, but you still got to stay centered, you know. Fighting is still like-- still like a game of chess and a game of-- of-- you know, it's-- it's-- it's a game of-- of, you know, at this level, it's a game of details, too.

So you can't let, like, you know, whatever emotion that will make you stiffen you up or let, like, this, like, take over, you know. So you got to stay centered. And what's it-- that's what it's about.

KEVIN IOLE: You know, he-- like Adesanya, he-- he is a striker but completely different style-- style of striker. Do you think his style, you know, kind of is-- is a better style for you in terms of, you know, he's going to be aggressive? He's going to get in your face. Is that a style that you generally do well against?

MARVIN VETTORI: Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, he wants to engage more. He wants-- you know, we both bring the fight. And so when both bring the fight, definitely a great fight will happen.

Adesanya was smart but was not-- was not really like-- he never really engaged. He never really-- you know, that-- that time that he-- that he stopped his feet, he actually almost got-- got hit. And you know, he was always-- he was kind of running the whole time.

And I mean, that's-- in a sense, you know, that's a fault of my side because he did what he does well. And I didn't do what I do well enough for-- to stop what he was doing well. So but yeah, I mean, that's definitely-- this is definitely much more of a-- a favorite fight that-- than-- than it was me and Adesanya.

KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, I think this is going to be one of those fights where, you know, Dana White likes to always say, in every UFC show, he wants to have a holy [MUTED] moment. And I think this is a fight that we could have a holy [MUTED] moment. Don't you?

MARVIN VETTORI: Absolutely. A lot of holy [MUTED] moments, actually.

KEVIN IOLE: How do you-- you know, what is the-- the key for you in this fight? I mean, obviously, you don't want to get hit, you know, clean by some of those shots. But like, what is it that you think you have to do well? Like, if we see you doing this, that means you're successful. What-- what would that be?

MARVIN VETTORI: You know, for this fight, I actually trained a lot on, like, getting better in general. Like, I feel like I am-- I am-- I am the superior striker. I am the superior grappler. And in general, a superior fighter.

With that being said, he's dangerous in a lot of situations. And so you know, just working on getting better in general. But you know, what he brings to the table is actually fits my style. It matches very well with me. And-- and, you know. I'm better. I'm better.

So and it's going to show. I mean, I'm just a better fighter. You know, I'm going to see-- I'm going to be able to see holes where-- where-- where there are holes. And I'm going to be able to take advantage of those holes.

And you know, at the end of the day, I-- I feel like I'm more solid. I'm more durable. And-- and he's-- he's going to fade out. And then I'm going to go in and really try to take him out. And I want to take him out. I've been working all camp to try to cross this line where, you know, when I smell blood, I got to go after him and then get him-- get him out of there. Like, I-- I don't want to leave it in the hands of the judges.

KEVIN IOLE: When you say, you know, you think he's going to fade or whatever, I mean, do you feel like-- you know, he's a big, thick muscular guy. If you push the pace, you know, he's going to need all that oxygen. Is that kind of what you're referencing?

MARVIN VETTORI: Well, yeah, I mean, I think, you know, I always bring a high pace to fights. And so yeah, I think he's going to fade. He's-- he never went five rounds. I went now three full five rounds. Three times, full five-- five rounds. Yeah, I definitely have that advantage.

And-- and I know I can dig deeper. You know, I got more dog in me than he has. And in general-- even-- I mean, I think I'm superior. As-- as a fighter, I'm really superior.

KEVIN IOLE: As, you know, you said earlier that, you know, you worked on getting better in this camp. When you try to get better, I mean, you look back at your last fight. So you weren't good enough to win the fight that particular night. Do you-- do you fight to get better to beat the guy that's the champion now or just do you try to generally get better across the board? And when-- whenever you fight for the title next, it'll be against whoever it is.

MARVIN VETTORI: No. I mean, I know what-- what I have to refine. And then this is a game of, like, you know, as MMA fighters, we should always know that we-- I mean, in general as anything, really but an MMA fighter even more since we-- we train so many disciplines, you know, we should know that we always have things to refine and things that we-- you know, we have to get better at. But no, no, no, not because of the-- I mean, you know, fighting my last fight, he might have exposed some of the things that I have to work on. So maybe that's-- those are part of the things that I do like-- that-- some of the things where I will focus to get better. But-- but in general, I know what I have to-- you know, I-- I know the things that I have to refine and the things that-- that I have to get better. In reality, to beat Adesanya, it's-- I feel like I have all the tools, actually. It was-- it was more of a game of, like, a strategy than actually skills.

KEVIN IOLE: Yeah, he played cat and mouse with you and kind of got-- you know, got you there.

MARVIN VETTORI: A little bit, yeah. I mean, he played a really smart fight. Mentally, it was really cool and collected. And he was-- he was able to see a couple of things that I wasn't. And you know, he was really able to, you know, get the crowd, too, and-- and give-- give the perspective that he was having, you know, control or whatever that was going on. Meanwhile, he didn't have that much control I felt. So yeah, that and then, you know, just things, yeah. I mean, that more than actually-- than actual skills and all that.

KEVIN IOLE: I wonder after you have fought that fight for the title, are you as convinced as you were going into that that you're going to be the champion someday? Like, you know, even though you lost that fight and the judges saw it as a lopsided score, do you-- did you come away from that saying, "OK, I know for sure that I can-- I can become the champion?"

MARVIN VETTORI: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, what the judges saw was-- was-- was not what-- it was not respective of what the fight was. That-- that's a fact. And-- and even all the [MUTED] that the media talked-- and you know, I always say-- I always stand for-- for-- for fairness. And I mean, like, you know, fairness will always be relative, you know.

Somebody thinks something is fair. And someone, you know, the same thing could be fair to somebody, and for somebody, it will not. But you know, there's-- there's common sense. And-- and I feel like, you know, there was a lot of misjudging and a lot of misleading information about-- about that fight.

But it is what it is. And that's-- that's one of the reasons why, you know, I don't want to leave it in the hand of the judges. Regardless of, like, thinking if I won or if I lost my last fight, and, you know, it's not about that. It's just I don't want to leave it in the hands of the judges. I want to do everything in my power to-- to go out and cross that line and-- and-- and finish my opponents.

KEVIN IOLE: Well, I think we're in for a treat on Saturday at Apex because you and Paulo Costa, I think the styles mesh. I think we're in for a good one. I really look forward to seeing it. Marvin, thank you for your time. Best of luck on Saturday.

MARVIN VETTORI: Thank you very much. Thank you.

KEVIN IOLE: Thanks, brother.