Any doubts people had about Paulo Costa being legit were blown away when the beefy middleweight went head to head against Yoel Romero at UFC 241 and came out the other end of three rounds with his hand raised (watch the highlights here).
There’s a bit of controversy surrounding the decision, but it’s far from a robbery. Either of them winning would have made sense, although we think Costa clinched it because Yoel was making strange stroke faces every time he ate a combo. That’s not the kind of thing that’s supposed to matter based on official judging criteria, but you know how it is. Yoel’s constant jawing and gesturing sure was entertaining, but probably hurt him in the end.
Nobody:— Watch #UFC241 live on BT Sport 1 HD (@btsportufc) August 18, 2019
Yoel Romero: pic.twitter.com/Bp7B1v8XtU
Most guys survive fights against Romero by the skin of their teeth, so Costa not only surviving but making Romero look like the one in trouble was impressive. We’re sure it boosted the Brazilian’s confidence, and he brought a certain swagger with him to the post fight press conference. The big topic of discussion: fighting the winner of the middleweight title fight between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 on October 6th.
“I think that both are looking to me ... scared,” Costa said. “Because the both guys know now they have a very, very tough guy looking for them. I think Whittaker will beat Adesanya, but ... I beat Romero. For me, Romero won against Robert Whittaker. But if Adesanya won, takes the belt? Man. I can kill that guy!”
”He’s very skinny, he not have a chance against me,” he finished. “It’s personal with Adesanya. I think he will defeat.”
As for why things had gotten personal with Adesanya?
“Because Adesanya talks shit about me too,” Costa said, almost sounding surprised. “And after my last fight against Uriah Hall in 2018, he asked me to fight against him and he say ‘I can beat this!’”
Where is the honor in mixed martial arts? Even worse:
”He say I have, uh ... ‘dinosaur arms.’ So. It’s personal.”
It didn’t take long before Adesanya heard about the press conference comments and decided to pour gasoline on that fire:
⛽️— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) August 18, 2019
We’re sure that only increases Costa’s desire to kill this man in a legally sanctioned environment. But while murder is under consideration, stepping in at UFC 243 should Whittaker or Adesanya bow out is not.
“No, no, absolute no. Not backup,” Costa said. “I trained so hard to be a backup. I train so hard. I need to confirm the fight to do my camp. My camp is wild, it’s jungle wild. Look, I forget to say in the Octagon, I broken my ribs this year. I broke two ribs on this last camp. I broke my biceps, clear off the leg. Man, this is crazy. I bring nine fighters to spar with me. Our guys go back to home with injuries because of wild train camp. I cannot be a backup. I need to confirm that fight to make my camp.”
So expect to see Paulo Costa cageside in Australia come November, but it’ll be a while longer before we get to see him back in the cage. There’s been no promise from the UFC that he’s next, but UFC president Dana White had nothing but good things to say about the Brazilian wrecking ball, who earned a $50,000 fight of the night bonus.
“It was everything I thought it was going to be,” White gushed. “I thought it would be fight of the night. It is fight of the night. That fight was ridiculous. I mean two monsters just blasting. It’s funny because I actually had it two round to one for Costa. And yet so many other people had two rounds to one for Romero.”
“It was a fun fight. Either way that fight would have gone you wouldn’t have been like ‘Oh my god, this is a robbery!’ So it was that much of a war. That close and they both deserve the bonus money.”