Paulo Costa on his bouts against Chimaev and DDP

Image for Paulo Costa on his bouts against Chimaev and DDP

Paulo Costa‘s focus extends far beyond a rematch with Khamzat Chimaev.  The Brazilian fighter gears up for his UFC 298 co-main event against former UFC middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker.

While he had to withdraw from their previously scheduled bout in October due to an elbow infection, Costa addressed Khamzat Chimaev. Despite a tense encounter at the UFC Performance Institute in the past, Costa bears no animosity but emphasizes his pursuit of championship gold. He expresses his reluctance to engage in a backward fight against someone aiming to secure a victory over a ranked opponent in the middleweight division.

During the UFC 298 presser, Costa said:

“Everybody knows I don’t like the guy. But I don’t think too many people take him seriously anymore. He just stopped fighting. He didn’t beat anybody in the middleweight division, top contenders or even top 15. He didn’t beat anybody in the top 15 in the middleweight division. How can you take this guy seriously? He could barely beat Usman on 10 days, short notice. Usman is a welterweight. He didn’t cut weight to middleweight and everybody saw that fight. I was there. But after I beat Whittaker, I will not hear his name. F*** him.”

Chimaev, following his close decision win over Kamaru Usman, considered a spot at UFC 300 in April but withdrew due to Ramadan ending just days before the event. Opting for a potential return in June in Saudi Arabia, Chimaev contemplates his next move.

Costa, regardless of Chimaev’s plans, hopes that “Borz” faces a top-15 ranked opponent at middleweight, ruling out any possibility of himself being the opponent.

“He needs to do something. He needs to beat somebody at least in the top 10 in the middleweight [division]. He didn’t yet and I don’t think he’s capable to do that. That’s my thought about him. Of course I would love to fight him in Abu Dhabi. It didn’t happen. I was frustrated but I’m here right now and I’m going to fight a guy much more qualified than him. Whittaker has better credentials than he ever had. I don’t believe he’s going to jump and fight for the belt before me.”

Looking ahead to his bout with Whittaker, Costa anticipates a more challenging test compared to a potential rematch with Chimaev. While Whittaker recently suffered a loss to current middleweight title holder Dricus du Plessis, he recognizes the uncertainty surrounding Whittaker’s career trajectory.

Costa said about Whittaker:

“He’s a former champ. I just hope his best days are not gone.  Because I want to put his name on my record as a good name that I beat.”

Costa believes that his win at UFC 298 will put him back at the top of the division, confident that it will set the stage for another title shot. He predicts being the next in line for the belt after eliminating Whittaker in their upcoming matchup. 

“After my fight against Whittaker, for sure [I will fight for the title]. I don’t see other way different than that after beating Whittaker Saturday. I have no other way to go. I think after I beat him, when you look at the whole division, you have a popular guy that fights the way people want to see, people like to see the fights going on, it’s me. So beating him, I will be next in line.”

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