Sorry, Paulo, but it seems the hulking Brazilian will have to wait a bit longer for his shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight strap.
That’s because UFC President Dana White announced that current 185-pound kingpin, Israel Adesanya, will defend his title for the first time against former title contender, Yoel Romero, at the upcoming UFC 248 pay-per-view (PPV) event on March 7, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Costa was initially the front-runner to be “The Last Stylebender’s” first challenge as champion, but after an injury derailed his chances, Romero got the call up. That said, just yesterday White revealed that Costa could be back in time to face Adesanya, but it seems that was just a front.
Adesanya won the 185-pound strap after knocking out Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 last October, giving him his seventh straight win under the UFC umbrella while keeping his undefeated (18-0) mark intact.
Interestingly enough, Romero was last seen losing to Costa at UFC 241, which was his second straight defeat after losing to Whittaker for the second time a year prior. The next man up would have been Jared Cannonier, but he was booked to face the aforementioned Whittaker at the same UFC 248 card before it went up in smoke.
Nevertheless, Romero (42) will get another crack at winning UFC gold against one of the hottest fighters in the game today.
UFC 248 will be co-headlined by a women’s Strawweight title fight between division queenpin, Weili Zhang, defending her strap against former champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.